Veritas Bible Site Search for Lazarus
Veritas Bible Site Search Results for Lazarus
Score: 1.00Luke 16:24
And he cried, and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.
drb › Luke › Chapter 16 › Verse 24
Score: 1.00John 12:9
A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
drb › John › Chapter 12 › Verse 9
Score: 1.00Luke 16:24
He called out: ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus with the tip of his finger dipped in water to cool my tongue, for I suffer so much in this fire.’
ccb_ed48 › Luke › Chapter 16 › Verse 24
Score: 1.00Luke 16:25
Abraham replied: ‘My son, remember that in your lifetime you were well-off while the lot of Lazarus was misfortune. Now he is in comfort and you are in agony.
ccb_ed48 › Luke › Chapter 16 › Verse 25
Score: 1.00Luke 16:24
So he cried out, "Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames."
njb › Luke › Chapter 16 › Verse 24
Score: 1.00Luke 16:25
Abraham said, "My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony.
njb › Luke › Chapter 16 › Verse 25
Score: 1.00John 12:9
Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead.
njb › John › Chapter 12 › Verse 9
Score: 1.00Lucas 16:25
Et dixit illi Abraham: Fili, recordare quia recepisti bona in vita tua, et Lazarus similiter mala: nunc autem hic consolatur, tu vero cruciaris.
lvb › Lucas › Chapter 16 › Verse 25
Score: 1.00Lucas 16:25
Et dixit illi Abraham : Fili, recordare quia recepisti bona in vita tua, et Lazarus similiter mala : nunc autem hic consolatur, tu vero cruciaris :
bsv2005 › Lucas › Chapter 16 › Verse 25
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 20:17
I will not leave you again; be not in a hurry to touch me; you shall all have this pleasure. I will remain with you some time, before my ascension. Announce my resurrection to my apostles. You shall see me again. This is the interpretation most modern commentators put upon this place. Others suppose, that Magdalene imagined he was risen from the dead to live with men as before, like Lazarus. He addresses these words to her to disabuse her of this notion. Calmet.
drb › John › 20 › Verse 17
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 12:1
On the tenth day of the month the Jews were accustomed to collect the lambs, and other things in preparation for the ensuing great feast. On this day, likewise, they generally had a small feast, or treat for their friends, at which time Jesus coming to Bethania, joined his friends in their entertainment. This was most likely in the house of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Martha served at the table herself, thinking herself happy in waiting on Jesus, whom she considered as her Lord and God. Lazarus was one of them that were at table, to shew himself alive, by speaking and eating with them, and thus confounding the inexcusable incredulity of the Jews. And Mary too shewed her loving attachment to Jesus, by anointing his feet with her precious ointment. Theophyl. S. Aug. and S. Chrys.
drb › John › 12 › Verse 1
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:4
This sickness is not unto death. That is, though he truly die, it is not designed that he remain dead. Wi. — This sickness is not unto death; because his death itself was not unto death, but rather to the working of a great miracle, by which men were brought to the true faith, and thus avoided an eternal death. S. Austin, tract. 49. in Joan. — Lazarus indeed died of this sickness, but he did not die as other men, to continue dead; for Jesus raised him again to the glory of God. SS. Cyril, Chrys. &c.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 4
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:43
He cried with a loud voice: Lazarus come forth. His will had been sufficient. He calls upon the dead man, says S. Chrys. as if he had been living; and it is no sooner said than done. Wi.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 43
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:44
Loose him, and let him go. Christ, says S. Greg. by giving these orders to his apostles, shews that it belongs to his ministers to loose and absolve sinners, when they are moved to repentance, though it is God himself that forgiveth their sins; and they by his authority only. Wi. — Lazarus comes forth bound from the sepulchre, that he might not be thought to be a phantom; and that the bystanders might themselves loose him, and touching and approaching him, might know for certain that it was he. S. Chrys. hom. lxiii. in Joan. — S. Cyril and S. Austin both adduce this verse to shew the power of priests in absolving sinners. See S. Cyril l. vii. c. ult. in Joan. and Aug. tract. 49. in Joan.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 44
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:41
Father, I give thee thanks, that thou hast heard me. He knew that what he asked, even as man, must needs be granted; but he prayed for our instruction. Wi. — Christ was about to pray for the resurrection of Lazarus; but his eternal Father, who alone is good, prevented his petition, and heard it before he presented it. Therefore does Christ begin his prayer, by returning his almighty Father thanks for having granted his request. Orig. tract. 18. in Joan.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 41
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:39
Take away the stone. He could have done this by his word and command; or he could have made Lazarus come out without taking off the stone; he needed not to pray, who could do and command every thing. Wi.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 39
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:1
At the end of the preceding chapter, we are told that Jesus went into the place where John was first baptizing. This place, as may be gather from S. John, (c. i. v. 28. and 44.) was Bethania; but not the Bethania where the sisters of Lazarus resided. The Bethania where Christ was at this time was beyond the Jordan, and was likewise called Bethabara; whereas the Bethania where Lazarus lay sick, was two miles to the south of Jerusalem, and formed a part of the suburbs of that city. It is called the town of Martha and Mary, because they lived there; in the same manner as Bethsaida is called the city of Peter and Andrew. Calmet.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 1
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:11
Lazarus . . sleepeth. It is strange that the disciples could imagine that Christ spoke of an ordinary sleep, and that he would go two or three days' journey to awake him. Nothing but the fear and concern they were under, could make them think so. Wi.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 11
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 5:25
The hour cometh . . . when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. Though some understand this of the rising of Lazarus; others of those that rose with Christ at his resurrection: yet by these words, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, seems rather to be signified the general resurrection at the end of the world; and though it be said, that now is the hour, this may be spoken of the last age of the world; and, as S. John says, (1 Ep. ii. 18.) children, it is the last hour. In fine, some interpreters understand these words of a spiritual resurrection from sin, which Christ came to bring to the world. Wi.
drb › John › 5 › Verse 25
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 22:43
An angel . . . strengthening him. Christ, our Redeemer, was truly God and truly man. And being made man by a real union of his divine person and nature, to our weak and infirm human nature, he likewise took upon him our infirmities, sin excepted. We must consider him as man, when we read of his being tempted in the wilderness, (Matt. iv.) when he wept at the raising of Lazarus out of the grave, (John xi.) as often as we read of his praying; and here, when we read of his praying, and redoubling his prayer in the garden, when we find him seized with fear, sadness, and grief: for though, as God, he could prevent and hinder these passions and affections natural to man, yet he could also permit them to affect his human nature; as he permitted himself to be seized with hunger, after fasting forty days; and so he permitted his human nature to be seized with fear and grief in this garden of Gethsemani. As angels came and ministered to him after his fast in the wilderness, so an angel came as it were to propose to him the divine decree, that he was to suffer and die for the redemption of mankind; and as man, he is said to be strengthened and comforted by the angel: he, who as God, was Lord and maker of the angels, and so needed not to be strengthened by his creatures. Besides what happened to Christ as man, were ordained as instructions for us. We are taught by angels appearing, that they were not only ready to assist and wait upon Christ, but that, by the order of divine Providence, they are also ready to assist us in our temptations and afflictions. — In an agony. This Greek word signifies, a strife, or combat; not that there could be any opposition or contrariety in the interior of Christ, whose human will was always perfectly subject to his divine will, and the sensitive part to reason: yet, inasmuch as he was truly man, his human nature dreaded all those sufferings which at that time were represented to his soul, and which in a few hours he was to undergo. Wi.
drb › Luke › 22 › Verse 43
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 19:41
He wept. S. Epiphanius tells us, that some of the orthodox of his time, offended at these words, omitted them in their copies, as if to shed tears, were a weakness unworthy of Christ: but this true reading of the evangelist is found in all copies, and received by all the faithful; and the liberty which those who changed them took, was too dangerous ever to be approved of by the Church. Neither do these tears argue in Jesus Christ any thing unworthy of his supreme majesty or wisdom. Our Saviour possessed all the human passions, but not the defects of them. The Stoics, who condemned the passions in their sages, laboured to make statues or automata of man, not philosophers. The true philosopher moderates and governs his passions; the Stoic labours to destroy them, but cannot effect his purpose. And when he labours to overcome one passion, he is forced to have recourse to another for help. Calmet. — Our Saviour is said to have wept six times, during his life on earth: 1st, At his birth, according to many holy doctors; 2ndly, at his circumcision, according to S. Bernard and others; 3rdly, when he raised Lazarus to life, as is related in S. John, c. xi.; 4thly, in his entry into Jerusalem, described in this place; 5thly, during his agony in the garden, just before his apprehension, when, as S. Luke remarks, (C. xxii.) his sweat was as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground; and 6thly, during his passion, when he often wept, on account of his great distress of mind, occasioned principally by the knowledge he had of the grievousness of men's sins, and the bad use they would make of the redemption he was, through so many sufferings, procuring for them. Dionysius.
drb › Luke › 19 › Verse 41
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 16:31
If they hear not, Moses, &c. We think that if we saw a man raised from the dead, who should tells us what he had seen and suffered in another world, it would make more impression upon us than past miracles, which we hear of, or the promises and threats of the prophets, apostles, and our blessed Saviour, which are contained in Scripture; but it is a false notion, a vain excuse. The wicked, and unbelievers, would even in that case find pretexts and objections for not believing. S. Chrys. hom. iv. — They would say that the dead man was a phantom; that his resurrection was not real; his assertions nugatory. When Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, the miracle was known, evident and public; yet we find none of the Pharisees converted by it. They were even so mad as to enter into a design to kill Lazarus, to get rid of a witness who deposed against their incredulity. How many other miracles did he not perform in their sight, which they attributed to the prince of darkness, or to magic? Christ raised himself from the dead. This fact was attested by many unexceptionable witnesses. And what do the hardened Jews do? They object, that his disciples, stealing away the body, maliciously persuaded the people that he had risen again. Such is the corruption of the human heart, that when once delivered up to any passion, nothing can move it. Every day we see or hear of malefactors publicly executed, yet their example has no effect on the survivors, nor does it prevent the commission of fresh crimes. Calmet. — "We have also the more firm prophetical word; whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts." 2 Pet. i. 19. — We may learn many very instructive lessons from this affecting history of Lazarus. — The rich may learn the dreadful consequences to be apprehended from riches, when made subservient to sensuality, luxury, and ambition. The poor may learn to make their poverty and sufferings, however grievous to nature, instrumental to their future happiness, by bearing them with patience and resignation to the will of heaven. The former are taught that to expose a man to eternal misery, nothing more is required than to enjoy all the good things of this world according to their own will; the latter, that however they may be despised and rejected of men, they may still have courage, knowing that the short day of this fleeting life, with all its apparent evils, will soon be over; and that the day of eternity is fast approaching, when every one shall receive according as he has done good or evil in his body. A.
drb › Luke › 16 › Verse 31
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 16:19
There was a certain rich man, &c. By this history of the rich man and Lazarus, he declares that those who are placed in affluent circumstances, draw upon themselves a sentence of condemnation, if seeing their neighbour in want, they neglect to succour him. S. Cyril, in Cat. Græc. patrum. — He that hath the substance of this world, and shall see his brother in need, and shut up his bowels against him, how doth the charity of God abide in him? John, 1 Ep. iii. 17. A received tradition of the Jews informs us, that this Lazarus was a beggar, then at Jerusalem, suffering in the most wretched condition of poverty, and infirmity: him our Saviour introduces, to manifest more plainly the truth of what he had been saying S. Cyril, ut supra. — By this, we are not to understand that all poverty is holy, and the possession of riches criminal; but, as luxury is the disgrace of riches, so holiness of life is the ornament of poverty. S. Ambrose. — A man may be reserved and modest in the midst of riches and honours, as he may be proud and avaricious in the obscurity of a poor and wretched life. — Divers interpreters have looked upon this as a true history; but what is said of the rich man seeing Lazarus, of his tongue, of his finger, cannot be literal: souls having no such parts. Wi. — In this parable, which S. Ambrose takes to be a real fact, we have the name of the poor mendicant; but our Lord suppresses the name of the rich man, to signify that his name is blotted out of the book of life: besides, the rich man tells Abraham, that he has five brothers, who were probably still living; wherefore, to save their honour, our Lord named not their reprobated brother.
drb › Luke › 16 › Verse 19
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 8:55
This returning of the souls again, to reanimate the bodies of those whom Christ and his apostles raised from death, (and especially Lazarus, who had been dead four days) doth evidently prove the immortality of the soul. From this place we may also conclusively infer against our adversaries, who say, that every one goeth straight to heaven or hell, that it is not probable that they were called from the one or the other; and therefore from some third place.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 8:2
Mention is made in the gospels, of a woman who was a sinner, (Luke vii.) of Mary of Bethania, the sister of Lazarus, (John xi. and xii. Mark xiv. Matt. xxvi.) and of Mary Magdalene, who followed Jesus from Galilee, and ministered to him. Many think all this to belong to one and the same person: others think these were three distinct persons. See the arguments on both sides in Alban Butler's Lives of Saints, July 22d; and also more at large in the dissertations upon the three Marys, at the conclusion of the harmony in the Bible de Vence.
drb › Luke › 8 › Verse 2
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 14:3
Of precious  spikenard. This was a perfume extracted and distilled from the leaves, tops, or stalks, of the plant or herb called nard. It was the custom of the eastern people to pour such precious perfumes on their own heads, or on the heads of their guests whom they had a mind to honour. Wi. — This happened six days previous to the pasch. The woman here mentioned was Mary, sister of Lazarus. John xii. 3.
drb › Mark › 14 › Verse 3
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 7:34
Ephphetha, a Syriac word. Jesus Christ, in the cure of this man, uses many and various actions; but as of their own nature they are no ways equal to such a cure, they shew: first, that the cure was miraculous; and secondly, the virtue, which his divinity communicated to his sacred body. V. — We must not suppose that our Saviour here groaned on account of any difficulty he experienced in working this miracle, but only from commiseration for the man, whom he was about to heal; as likewise to shew, how very difficult is the cure of those who are spiritually deaf and dumb by sin. He was affected in a similar manner when he raised Lazarus to life, to shew with what difficulty a man, dead and buried in sin by evil habits, can arise from that miserable state. Dion. Carth.
drb › Mark › 7 › Verse 34
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 5:41
Only three resurrections from the dead are mentioned as performed by our Saviour: one just dead; one carried out to be buried; and Lazarus, already in his tomb. These represent the different states of sinners dead in sin, some more desperate than others. To such as have been for years in sin, and have none to intercede for them, we must apply the words of Christ, suffer the dead to bury the dead. Ven. Bede, and S. Aug. de verb. Dom. serm. 44.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 27:55
Ministering unto him. It was customary with the Jews, for the women of that country to minister unto their teachers both food and raiment; but because this was liable to abuse, and to cause scandal to the Gentiles, S. Paul dispensed with their assistance. These women ministered to our Lord, hoping that he would bestow heavenly food to them, who offered earthly food to him: not that the Creator of all things stood in need of assistance: but he wished to shew his disciples an example of poverty in himself, and charity in these women. But let us see what sort of women these were that followed our Lord, among whom were Mary Magdalene, sister of Martha and Lazarus; Mary, the mother of James the less and Joseph, sister of the blessed Virgin Mary, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee, otherwise called Salome, who were disciples of Jesus. S. Jerom, and M.
drb › Matthew › 27 › Verse 55
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 26:7
A woman. This was Mary, the sister of Lazarus. S. John xii. 3. V. — It is not the use, but the abuse of things, which is blameworthy. That man is not to be blamed, who does not exceed the rules followed by good, honourable, and conscientious men, with whom he associates. What, therefore, in some is often reprehensible, in another is highly commendable. A good reputation is a sweet perfume, which a man merits for his worthy deeds; and whilst he follows the footsteps of Christ, he may justly be said to anoint our Redeemer's feet with a most precious ointment. S. Augustin.
drb › Matthew › 26 › Verse 7
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 11:3
Art thou he that is to come?  (Greek, who cometh? ) i.e. the Messias. John the Baptist had already, on several occasions, declared that Jesus was the Messias. Jo. i. He could not then doubt of it himself, but sent his disciples to take away their doubt. Wi. — S. John the Baptist sent his disciples not to satisfy his own doubts, but for the sake of his disciples, who, blinded by the love they bore their Master, and by some emulation, would not acknowledge Christ to be the Messias. S. Chrysos. in Baradius. — This expression of S. John is much taken notice of, as conveying with it a very particular question. "Tell me, says S. John, now that I am departing out of this world, whether thou art coming to redeem the patriarchs and holy fathers; or wilt thou send another?" S. Thos. Aquin. — And S. Chrysostom also explains it thus, Art thou he that art to come to limbo? but the Baptist omitting this last word, sufficiently indicated to our Saviour what was the purport of this question. S. Jerom and S. Gregory say, that by his death, he was going to preach to the holy fathers that Christ, the Messias, was come. John does not here propose this question as ignorant of the real case, but in the same manner as Christ asked where Lazarus was laid. So John sends his disciples to Jesus, that seeing the signs and miracles he performed, they might believe in him. As long, therefore, as John remained with his disciples, he constantly exhorted them to follow Jesus; but now that he is going to leave them, he is more earnest for their belief in him. S. Thos. Aquin.
drb › Matthew › 11 › Verse 3
Score: 1.00Commentary for Acts of the Apostles 26:23
That Christ should suffer, &c. Lit. if Christ be passible. If, here is expounded not as implying a condition, but as an affirmation; so that the sense is, that Christ, according to the predictions of the prophets, was to suffer, was to be the first that should rise from the dead, &c. Wi. — First, &c. Many had been raised from the dead before Jesus; the child of the widow of Sarepta, Lazarus, and others. How, then, is Jesus first? He is the first who rises not to die again; and as such the Messias is always represented by the prophets. Others were raised from the dead, but returned again to their graves. Jesus dies no more. He is the first too who raises himself. Calmet.
drb › Acts of the Apostles › 26 › Verse 23
Score: 1.00Commentary for 3 Kings 17:18
Remembered. Have I not waited upon thee with sufficient attention? or have not thine eyes been able to bear with my imperfections? H. --- Before thy arrival, God seemed not to notice my transgressions. She is convinced that "all just punishment presupposes an offence." S. Aug. Retract. i. 9. This child died like Lazarus for the greater glory of God. Id. ad Simp. ii. 5. John xi. 4. W.
drb › 3 Kings › 17 › Verse 18
Score: 1.00Commentary for Psalms 33:11
Rich of this world, (1 Tim. vi. 17. M.) are often poor in spiritual gifts. W. --- Those who are poor in both respects, are truly miserable, (H.) since they cannot satisfy their craving appetite. But the prophet admires those who are poor in spirit, whether they have many possessions or not. Bert. --- The fear of the Lord is his treasure. Is. xxxiii. 6. The saint is content under every dispensation of Providence. H. --- Lazarus was truly rich even here; and in heaven his is covered with glory. Lu. xvi. 20. S. Jer. C. --- Heb. "the lions have wanted." S. Jer. --- This may have been the case: yet those who fear God shall be filled; or, the rich may be designated by the name of lion's whelps, on account of their power and avidity. C. --- The same term, cephirim, is often applied to men in power. Ezec. xix 2. Job iv. 10. Bert. --- Good. If the saints be sometimes deprived of provisions, they know that it is better for them; as God directs all for their good. H.
drb › Psalms › 33 › Verse 11
Score: 1.00Commentary for Psalms 36:25
Seeking, in vain. H. --- Rom. and Gothic Ps. read, "wanting." This does not condemn the mendicant orders. M. --- Nothing was more unusual under the old law than the extreme distress of the just: yet Job and Lazarus were reduced to it. They were not, however, discontent. C. --- They found the bread of life in conformity to God's will. Jo. iv. 34. H. --- Their souls were enriched with grace, which was never wanting, as the Fathers explain this passage. Bert. Amos viii. 11. --- It is certain that there were poor among the Jews; (Deut. xv. 11.) and who would assert that they were all wicked, or the children of such? Yet the prophet had not witnessed (C.) any person renowned for virtue reduced to this condition, (H.) though he does not deny but it might be possible. C. --- The proposition may be restrained to those who have been very charitable, and who are not often thereby reduced to want. Dan. iv. 24. Genebrard. M. --- But the word just is more comprehensive; and S. Paul gives several instances of persecuted saints (Heb. xi.) which is confirmed by the parable, or rather by the history, of Lazarus. Bert. --- At any rate, the Church is never deprived of the word of God. S. Aug. W.
drb › Psalms › 36 › Verse 25
Score: 1.00Commentary for Proverbs 13:7
Riches. Such was S. Paul. 2 Cor. vi. 10. Some affect to be rich, while others are never satisfied. Semper avarus eget. Lazarus was very rich in God's sight.
drb › Proverbs › 13 › Verse 7
Score: 1.00Commentary for Isaias 63:16
Abraham, &c. That is, Abraham will not now acknowledge us for his children, by reason of our degeneracy; but thou, O Lord, art our true father and our redeemer, and no other can be called our parent in comparison with thee. Ch. --- Abraham is not able to save us. C. --- The patriarchs may justly disregard us, as degenerate children; yet we hope in God's mercies. Thus S. Jerom, &c. explain the passage, which does not favour the errors of Vigilantius and of Luther, who maintain that the saints departed do not know what passes in this world. S. Aug. (Cura xv.) shews the contrary, from the example of Lazarus, Luke xvi. They know each other, though they had not lived together, (S. Greg. Dial. iv. 33.) and beheld in the light of God what regards their clients. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xxii. 29. We cannot decide how the martyrs do help those whom it is certain they assist. S. Aug. cura xvi. c. Faust. xx. 21. S. Jer. c. Vigil. S. Greg. 3 ep. 30. and 7 ep. 126. &c. W.
drb › Isaias › 63 › Verse 16
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 9:24
The girl is not dead. Christ, by saying so, insinuated that she was not dead in such a manner as they imagined; that is, so as to remain dead, but presently to return to life, as if she had been only asleep. Wi. — But sleepeth. In the xi. chapter of S. John, Christ again calls death a sleep. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth. Thus he teaches us to be no longer in dread of death, since it was reduced to the condition of a sleep. If you believe this, why do you vainly weep? why do you afflict yourself? this the Gentiles do, who have not faith. Your child is asleep, not dead, is gone to a place of rest, not to destruction. Therefore the royal prophet says, "Turn, O my soul, into thy rest, for the Lord hath been bountiful to thee." Psalm cxiv. If then it is a kindness, why should you weep? what else could you do at the death of an adversary, an enemy, the object of your greatest aversion? S. Chrysos. hom. xxxii. — Christ here asserts that the girl is only asleep, to shew that it was as easy for him to raise her from death as from sleep. Theophylactus.
drb › Matthew › 9 › Verse 24
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 8:28-34
Chrys.: Because there were who thought Christ to be a man, therefore the daemons came to proclaim His divinity, that they who had not seen the sea raging and again still, might hear the daemons crying; “And when he was come to the other side in the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two men having daemons.”
Rabanus: Gerasa is a town of Arabia beyond Jordan, close to Mount Gilead, which was in the possession [p. 325] of the tribe of Manasseh, not far from the lake of Tiberias, into which the swine were precipitated.
Aug., De. Cons. Evan., ii, 24: Whereas Matthew relates that there were two who were afflicted with daemons, but Mark and Luke mention only one, you must understand that one of them was a person of note, for whom all that country was in grief, and about whose recovery there was much care, whence the fame of this miracle was the more noised abroad.
Chrys.: Or; Luke and Mark chose to speak of one who was more grievously afflicted; whence also they add a further description of his calamity; Luke saying that he brake his bonds and was driven into the desert; Mark telling that he ofttimes cut himself with stones. But they neither of them say that there was only one, which would be to contradict Matthew. What is added respecting them that they “came from among the tombs,” alludes to a mischievous opinion, that the souls of the dead became daemons. Thus many soothsayers use to kill children, that they may have their souls to cooperate with them; and daemoniacs also often cry out, I am the spirit of such an one. But it is not the soul of the dead man that then cries out, the daemon assumes his voice to deceive the hearers. For if the soul of a dead man has power to enter the body of another, much more might it enter its own. And it is more unreasonable to suppose that a soul that has suffered cruelty should cooperate with him that injured it, or that a man should have power to change an incorporeal being into a different kind of substance, such as a human soul into the substance of a daemon. For even in a material body, this is beyond human power; as, for example, no man can change the body of a man into that of an ass.
And it is not reasonable to think that a disembodied spirit should wander to and for on the earth. “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God;” [Wis 3:1] therefore those of young children must be so, seeing they are not evil. And the souls of sinners are at once conveyed away from hence, as is clear from Lazarus, and the rich man.
Because none dared to bring them to Christ because of their fierceness, therefore Christ goes to them. This their fierceness is intimated when it is added, “Exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass that way.” So they who hindered all others from passing that [p. 326] way, found one now standing in their way. For they were tortured in an unseen manner, suffering intolerable things from the mere presence of Christ. “And, to, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of David?”
Jerome: This is no voluntary confession followed up by a reward to the utterer, but one extorted by the compulsion of necessity. A runaway slave, when after long time he first beholds his master, straight thinks only of deprecating the scourge; so the daemons, seeing the Lord suddenly moving upon the earth, thought He was come to judge them. Some absurdly suppose that these daemons knew the Son of God, while the Devil knew Him not, because their wickedness was less than his. But all the knowledge of the disciple must be supposed in the Master.
Aug., City of God, book 9, ch. 21: God was so far known to them as it was His pleasure to be known; and He pleased to be known so far as it was needful. He was known to them therefore not as He is Life eternal, and the Light which enlightens the good, but by certain temporal effects of His excellence, and signs of His hidden presence, which are visible to angelic spirits though evil, rather than to the infirmity of human nature.
Jerome: But both the Devil and the daemons may be said to have rather suspected, than known, Jesus to be the Son of God.
Pseudo-Aug., Quaest. V. et. N.T., 9, 55: When the daemons cry out, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?” we must suppose them to have spoken from suspicion rather than knowledge. “For had they known him, they never would have suffered the Lord of glory to be crucified.” [1 Cor 2:8]
Remig.: But as often as they were tortured by His excellent power, and saw Him working signs and miracles, they supposed Him to be the Son of God; when they saw Him hungry and thirsty, and suffering such things, they doubted, and thought Him mere man. It should be considered that even the unbelieving Jews when they said that Christ cast out daemons in Beelzebub, and the Arians who said that He was a creature, deserve condemnation not only on God’s sentence, but on the confession of the daemons, who declare Christ to be the Son of God. Rightly do they say, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?” that is, our malice and Thy grace have nothing in common, according to that the Apostle speaks, [p. 327] “There is no fellowship of light with darkness.” [2 Cor 6:14]
Chrys.: That this should not be thought to be flattery, they cry out what they were experiencing, “Art thou come to torment us before the time?”
Aug., City of God, book 8, ch. 23: Either because that came upon them unexpectedly, which they looked for indeed, but supposed more distant; or because they thought their perdition consisted in this, that when known they would be despised; or because this was before the day of judgment, when they should be punished with eternal damnation.
Jerome: For the presence of the Saviour is the torment of daemons.
Chrys.: They could not say they had not sinned, because Christ had found them doing evil, and marring the workmanship of God; whence they supposed that for their more abundant wickedness the time of the last punishment which shall be at the day of judgment should not be tarried for to punish them.
Aug., De Cons. Evan., ii, 24: Though the words of the daemons are variously reported by the three Evangelists, yet this is no difficulty; for they either all convey the same sense, or may be supposed to have been all spoken. Nor again because in Matthew they speak in the plural, in the others in the singular number; because even the other two Evangelists relate that when asked his name, he answered, Legion, shewing that the daemons were many.
“Now there was not far from thence a herd of many swine feeding; and the daemons prayed him, saying, If thou cast us out hence, send us into the swine.
Greg., Mor., ii, 10: For the Devil knows that of himself he has no power to do any thing, because it is not of himself that he exists as a spirit.
Remig.: They did not ask to be sent into men, because they saw Him by whose excellence they were tortured existing in human shape. Nor did they ask to be sent into sheep, because sheep are by God’s institution clean animals, and were then offered in the temple of God. But they requested to be sent into the swine rather than into any of the other unclean animals, because this is of all animals the most unclean; whence also it has its name ‘porcus,’ as being ‘spurens,’ filthy, and delighting in filthiness; and daemons also delight in the filthiness of sin. They did not pray that they might be sent into the air, because of their eager desire of hurting [p. 328] men.
“And he saith unto them, Go.”
Chrys.: Jesus did not say this, as though persuaded by the daemons, but with many designs therein. One, that He might shew the mighty power to hurt of these daemons, who were in possession of the two men; another, that all might see that they had no power against the swine unless by His sufferance; thirdly, to shew that they would have done more grievous hurt to the men, had they not even in their calamities been aided by Divine Providence, for they hate men more than irrational animals. By this it is manifest that there is no man who is not supported by Divine Providence; and if all are not equally supported by it, neither after one manner, this is the highest characteristic of Providence, that it is extended to each man according to his need.
Besides the above-mentioned things, we learn also that He cares not only for the whole together, but for each one in particular; which one may see clearly in these daemoniacs, who would have been long before choked in the deep, had not Divine care preserved them. He also permitted them to go into the herd of swine, that they that dwelt in those parts might know His power. For where He was known to none, there He makes His miracles to shine forth, that He may bring them to a confession of His divinity.
Jerome: The Saviour bade them go, not as yielding to their request, but that by the death of the swine, an occasion of man’s salvation might be offered.
“But they went out, (to wit, out of the men,) and went into the swine; and, lo, the whole herd rushed violently headlong into the sea, and perished in the waters.”
Let Manichaeans blush; if the souls of men and of beasts be of one substance, and one origin, how should two thousand swine have perished for the sake of the salvation of two men?
Chrys.: The daemons destroyed the swine because they are ever striving to bring men into distress, and rejoice in destruction. The greatness of the loss also added to the fame of that which was done; for it was published by many persons; namely, by the men that were healed, by the owners of the swine, and by those that fed them; as it follows, “But they that fed them fled, and went into the town, and told all, and [p. 329] concerning them that had the daemons; and, behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus.” But when they should have adored Him, and wondered at His excellent power, they cast Him from them, as it follows, “And when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”
Observe the clemency of Christ next in His excellent power; when those who had received favours from Him would drive Him away, He resisted not, but departed, and left those who thus pronounced themselves unworthy of His teaching, giving them as teachers those who had been delivered from the daemons, and the feeders of the swine.
Jerome: Otherwise; This request may have proceeded from humility as well as pride; like Peter, they may have held themselves unworthy of the Lord’s presence, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” [Luke 5:8]
Rabanus: Gerasa is interpreted ‘casting out the dweller,’ or, ‘a stranger approaching;’ this is the Gentile world which cast out the Devil from it; and which was first far off, but now made near, after the resurrection being visited by Christ through His preachers.
Ambrose, Ambrosiaster, in Luc. 3. 30: The two daemoniacs are also a type of the Gentile world; for Noah having three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet, Shem’s posterity alone was taken into the inheritance of God, while from the other two sprang the nations of the Gentiles.
Hilary: Thus the daemons held the two men among the tombs without the town, that is, without the synagogue of the Law and the Prophets; that is, they infested the original seats of the two nations, the abodes of the dead, making the way of this present life dangerous to the passers by.
Rabanus: It is not without cause that he speaks of them as dwelling among the tombs; for what else are the bodies of the faithless but sepulchres of the dead, in which the word of God dwells not, but there is enclosed the soul dead in sins. He says, “So that no man might pass through that way,” because before the coming of the Saviour the Gentile world was inaccessible.
Or, by the two, understand both Jews and Gentiles, who did not abide in the house, that is, did not rest in their conscience. But they abode in tombs, that is, delighted themselves in dead works, and suffered no man to pass by the way of faith, which way the Jews obstructed. [p. 330]
Hilary: By their coming forth to meet Him is signified the willingness of men flocking to the faith. The daemons seeing that there is no longer any place left for them among the Gentiles, pray that they may be suffered to dwell among the heretics; these, seized by them, are drowned in the sea, that is, in worldly desires, by the instigations of the daemons, and perish in the unbelief of the rest of the Gentiles.
Bede, in Luc., 3: Or; The swine are they that delight in filthy manners; for unless one live as a swine, the devils do not receive power over him; or at most, only to try him, not to destroy him. That the swine were sent headlong into the lake, signifies, that when the people of the Gentiles are delivered from the condemnation of the daemons, yet still they who would not believe in Christ, perform their profane rites in secret, drowned in a blind and deep curiosity. That they that fed the swine, fled and told what was done, signifies that even the leaders of the wicked though they shun the law of Christianity, yet cease not to proclaim the wonderful power of Christ. When struck with terror, they entreat Him to depart from them, they signify a great number who, well satisfied with their ancient life, shew themselves willing to honour the Christian law, while they declare themselves unable to perform it.
Hilary: Or; the town is a type of the Jewish nation, which having heard of Christ’s works goes forth to meet its Lord, to forbid Him to approach their country and town; for they have not received the Gospel.
drb › Matthew › 8 › Verse 28 through 34
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 9:23-26
Gloss., non occ.: After the healing of the woman with the issue of blood, follows the raising of the dead; “And when Jesus was come into the ruler’s house.”
Chrys.: We may suppose that He proceeded slowly, and spake longer to the woman whom He had healed, that He might suffer the maid to die, and thus an evident miracle of restoring to life might be wrought. In the case of Lazarus also He waited till the third day.
“And when he saw the minstrels and the people making a noise;” this was a proof of her death.
Ambrose., Ambrosiaster, in Luc., 8, 52: For by the ancient custom minstrels were engaged to make lamentation for the dead.
Chrys.: But Christ put forth all the pipers, but took in the parents, that it might not be said that He had healed her by any other means; and before the restoring to life He excites their expectations by His words, “And he said, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.”
Bede, in Luc.: As though He had said, To you she is dead, but to God who has power to give life, she sleeps only both in soul and body.
Chrys.: By this saying, He soothes the minds of those that were present, and shews that it is easy to Him to raise the dead; the like He did in the case [p. 352] of Lazarus, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.” [John 11:11] This was also a lesson to them not to be afraid of death; forasmuch as He himself also should die, He made His disciples learn in the persons of others confidence and patient endurance of death. For when He was near, death was but as sleep. When He had said this, “They mocked him.” And He did not rebuke their mocking; that this mocking, and the pipes and all other things, might be a proof of her death. For ofttimes at His miracles when men would not believe, He convicted them by their own answers; as in the case of Lazarus, when He said, “Where have ye laid him?” so that they that answered, “Come and see,” and, “He stinketh, for he hath now been dead four days,” could no longer disbelieve that He had raised a dead man.
Jerome: They that had mocked the Reviver were not worthy to behold the mystery of the revival; and therefore it follows, “And when the multitude was put forth, he entered, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.”
Chrys.: He restored her to life not by bringing in another soul, but by recalling that which had departed, and as it were raising it from sleep, and through this sight preparing the way for belief of the resurrection. And He not only restores her to life, but commands food to be given her, as the other Evangelists relate, that which was done might be seen to be no delusion. “And the fame of him went abroad into all that country.”
Gloss., non occ.: The fame, namely, of the greatness and novelty of the miracle, and its established truth; so that it could not be supposed to be a forgery.
Hilary: Mystically; The Lord enters the ruler’s house, that is, the synagogue, throughout which there resounded in the songs of the Law a strain of wailing.
Jerome: To this day the damsel lays dead in the ruler’s house; and they that seem to be teachers are but minstrels singing funeral dirges. The Jews also are not the crowd of believers, but of “people making a noise.” But when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, then all Israel shall be saved.
Hilary: But that the number of the elect might be known to be but few out of the whole body of believers, the multitude is put forth; the Lord indeed would that they should be saved, but they mocked at His sayings and actions, and so were not worthy to be made partakers of His resurrection.
Jerome: He took [p. 353] her by the hand, and the maid arose; because if the hands of the Jews which are defiled with blood be not first cleansed, their synagogue which is dead shall not revive.
Hilary: “His fame went about into all that country;” that is, the salvation of the elect, the gift and works of Christ are preached.
Rabanus: Morally; The damsel dead in the house is the soul dead in thought. He says that she is asleep, because they that are now asleep in sin may yet be roused by penitence. The minstrels are flatterers who cherish the dead.
Greg., Mor., xviii, 43: The multitude are put forth that the damsel may be raised; for unless the multitude of worldly cares is first banished from the secrets of the heart, the soul which is laid dead within, cannot rise again.
Rabanus: The maiden is raised in the house with few to witness, the young man without the gate, and Lazarus in the presence of many; for a public scandal requires a public expiation; a less notorious, a lesser remedy; and secret sins may be done away by penitence.
drb › Matthew › 9 › Verse 23 through 26
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 11:2-6
Gloss, non occ.: The Evangelist had shewn above how by Christ’s miracles and teaching, both His disciples and the multitudes had been instructed; he now shews how this instruction had reached even to John’s disciples, so that they seemed to have some jealousy towards Christ; “John, when he had heard in his bonds the works of Christ, sent two of his disciples to say unto him, Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?
Greg., Hom in Ev. vi. 1: We must enquire how John, who is a prophet and more than a prophet, who made known the Lord when He came to be baptized, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sine of the world!—why, when he was afterwards cast into prison, he should send his disciples to ask, “Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?”
Did he not know Him whom he had pointed out to others; or was he uncertain whether this was He, whom by foretelling, by baptizing, and by making known, he had proclaimed to be He?
Ambrose, Ambros., in Luc 7:19: Some understand it thus; That it was a great thing that John should be so far a prophet, as to acknowledge Christ, and to preach remission of sin; but that like a pious prophet; he could not think that He whom he had believed to be He that should come, was to suffer death; he doubted therefore though not in faith, yet in love. So Peter also doubted, saying, “This be far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee.” [Matt 16:22]
Chrys.: But this seems hardly reasonable. For John was not in ignorance of His death, but was the first to preach it, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh. away the sins of the world.” For thus calling Him the Lamb, he plainly shews forth the Cross; and no otherwise than by the Cross did He take away the sins of the world. Also how is he a greater prophet than these, if he knew not those things which all the prophets knew; for Isaiah says, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.” [Isa 53:7]
Greg.: But this question may be answered in a better way if we attend to the order of time. At the waters of Jordan he had affirmed that this was the Redeemer of the world: after he was thrown into prison, he enquires if this was He [p. 405] that should come—not that he doubted that this was the Redeemer of the world, but he asks that he may know whether He who in His own person had come into the world, would in His own person descend also to the world below.
Jerome: Hence he frames his question thus, “Art thou he that is to come?” Not, Art Thou He that hast come? And the sense is, Direct me, since I am about to go down into the lower parts of the earth, whether I shall announce Thee to the spirits beneath also; or whether Thou as the Son of God may not taste death, but will send another to this sacrament?
Chrys.: But is this a more reasonable explanation than the other? for why then did he not say, Art Thou He that is coming to the world beneath? and not simply, “Art thou he that is to come?”
And the reason of his seeking to know, namely, that he might preach Him there, is even ridiculous. For the present life is the time of grace, and after death the judgment and punishment; therefore there was no need of a forerunnner thither. Again, if the unbelievers who should believe after death should be saved, then none would perish; all would then repent and worship; “for every knee shall bow, both of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth.” [Phil 2:10]
Gloss, non occ.: But it ought to be observed, that Jerome and Gregory did not say that John was to proclaim Christ’s coming to the world beneath, to the end that the unbelievers there might be converted to the faith, but that the righteous who abode in expectation of Christ, should be comforted by His near approach.
Hilary: It is indeed certain, that he who as forerunner proclaimed Christ’s coming, as prophet knew Him when He stood before him, and worshipped Him as Confessor when He came to him, could not fall into error from such abundant knowledge. Nor can it be believed that the grace of the Holy Spirit failed him when thrown into prison, seeing He should hereafter minister the light of His power to the Apostles when they were in prison.
Jerome: Therefore he does not ask as being himself ignorant. But as the Saviour asks where Lazarus is buried, [margin note John 11:23] in order that they who shewed Him the sepulchre might be so far prepared for faith, and believe that the dead was verily raised again—so John, about to be put to death by Herod, sends his disciples to Christ, [p. 406] that by this opportunity of seeing His signs and wonders they might believe on Him, and so might learn through their master’s enquiry.
But John’s disciples had somewhat of bitterness and jealousy towards the Lord, as their former enquiry shewed, “Why do thee and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
Chrys.: Yet whilst John was with them he held them rightly convinced concerning Christ. But when he was going to die, he was more concerned on their behalf. For he feared that he might leave his disciples a prey to some pernicious doctrine, and that they should remain separate from Christ, to whom it had been his care to bring all his followers from the beginning.
Had he said to them, Depart from me, for He is better than me, he would not have prevailed with them, as they would have supposed that he spoke this in humility, which opinion would have drawn them more closely to him. What then does he? He waits to hear through them that Christ works miracles.
Nor did he send all, but two only, (whom perhaps he chose as more ready to believe than the rest,) that the reason of his enquiry might be unsuspected, and that from the things themselves which they should see they might understand the difference between him and Jesus.
Hilary: John then is providing not for his own, but his disciples’ ignorance; that they might know that it was no other whom he had proclaimed, he sent them to see His works, that the works might establish what John had spoken; and that they should not look for any other Christ, than Him to whom His works had borne testimony.
Chrys.: So also Christ as knowing the mind of John, said not, I am He; for thus He would have put an obstacle in the way of those that heard Him, who would have at least thought within themselves, if they did not say, what the Jews did say to Christ, “Thou bearest witness of thyself.” [John 6:13]
Therefore He would have them learn from His miracles, and so presented His doctrine to them more clear, and without suspicion. For the testimony of deeds is stronger than the testimony of words. Therefore He straightway healed a number of blind, and lame, and many other, for the sake not of John who had knowledge, but of others who doubted; as it follows, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and tell John what ye have heard [p. 407] and seen; The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”
Jerome: This last is no less than the first. And understand it as if it had been said, Even “the poor;” that so between noble and mean, rich and poor, there may be no difference in preaching. This approves the strictness of the master, this the truth of the teacher, that in His sight every one who can be saved is equal.
Chrys.: “And blessed is he who shall not be offended in me,” is directed against the messengers; they were offended in Him. But He not publishing their doubts, and leaving it to their conscience alone, thus privately introduced a refutation of them.
Hilary: This saying, that they were blessed from whom there should be no offence in Him, shewed them what it was that John had provided against in sending them. For John, through fear of this very thing, had sent his disciples that they might hear Christ.
Greg., Hom in Ev., vi. 1: Otherwise; The mind of unbelievers was greatly offended concerning Christ, because after many miracles done, they saw Him at length put to death; whence Paul speaks, “We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block.” [1 Cor 1:23]
What then does that mean, “Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me,” but a direct allusion to the humiliation of His death; as much as to say, I do indeed wonderful works, but do not disdain to suffer humble things, Because then I follow you in death, men must be careful not to despise in Me My death, while they reverence My wonderful works.
Hilary: In these things which were done concerning John, there is a deep store of mystic meaning. The very condition and circumstances of a prophet are themselves a prophecy.
John signifies the Law; for the Law proclaimed Christ, preaching remission of sins, and giving promise of the kingdom of heaven. Also when the Law was on the point of expiring, (having been, through the sins of the people, which hindered them from understanding what it spake of Christ, as it were shut up in bonds and in prison,) it sends men to the contemplation of the Gospel, that unbelief might see the truth of its words established by deeds.
Ambrose: And perhaps the two disciples sent are the two people; those of the Jews, and those of the Gentiles who believed.
drb › Matthew › 11 › Verse 2 through 6
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 21:17-22
Pseudo-Chrys.: A bad man is better overcome by giving way to him than by replying to him; for wickedness is not instructed but stimulated by reproof. The Lord accordingly sought by withdrawing Himself to check those whom His words could not check; whence it is said, “And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany.”
Jerome: Hence it is to be understood that the Lord was in so great poverty, and so far from having courted any one, that He had found in all that city neither entertainer, nor abode, but He made His home in a little village, in the house of Lazarus and his sisters; for their village was Bethany; and it follows, “and He lodged there.”
Pseudo-Chrys.: Seeking surely to lodge in the body where His spirit also reposed; for so it is with [p. 717] all holy men, they love to be not where sumptuous banquets are, but where holiness flourishes.
Jerome: When the shades of night were dispersed, and He was returning to the city, the Lord was an hungred, thus shewing the reality of His human body.
Gloss., ap. Anselm: For in permitting His flesh to suffer that which properly pertains to flesh, He foreshews His passion. Mark the earnest zeal of the active labourer, Who is said to have gone early into the city to preach, and to gain some to His Father.
Jerome: The Lord about to suffer among the nations, and to take upon Him the offence of the Cross, sought to strengthen the minds of His disciples by a previous miracle; whence it follows, “And seeing a fig-tree by the wayside, He came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only.”
Chrys.: He came not because He was an hungred, but for His disciples’ sake; for because He ever did good and inflicted suffering on none, it behaved that He should set forth an example of His power of punishment; and this He would not exert upon man, but upon a plant.
Hilary: Herein also we find proof of the Lord’s goodness; where He was minded to shew forth an instance of the salvation procured by His means, He exerted the power of His might on the persons of men; by healing their present sicknesses, encouraging them to hope for the future, and to look for the healing of their soul. But now when He would exhibit a type of His judgments on the rebellious, He represents the future by the destruction of a tree; “Let no fruit grow on, thee henceforward for ever.”
Jerome: “For ever,” (in sempiternum,) or, “To the end of the world,” (in saeculum,) for the Greek word, , signifies both.
Chrys.: This was only a supposition of the disciples that it was cursed because it had not fruit; for another Evangelist says that it was not yet the season. Why then was it cursed? For the disciples’ sake, that they might learn that He had power to wither up those who crucified Him. And He worked this miracle in that which of all plants is the most juicy, that the greatness of the miracle might be more apparent. And when aught of this kind is done to brutes or vegetables, ask not whether the fig were with justice withered up, seeing it was not the season for its fruit; for to enquire thus were extreme madness, for in such creatures [p. 718] there can be neither fault nor punishment; but consider the miracle, and admire the Worker of it.
Gloss. ord.: The Creator does no wrong to the owner, but His creature, at His will, is converted to the profit of others.
Chrys.: And that you may learn that this was done for their sakes, to the end, namely, that they should be stirred up to confidence, hear what is said further. Jesus answered and said unto them, “Verily I say unto you, if ye shall have faith.”
Jerome: The Gentile dogs bark against us, affirming that the Apostles had not faith, because they were not able to remove mountains. To whom we answer, that many wonders were done by the Lord which are not written; and therefore we believe the Apostles to have done some not written, and that they were therefore not written, that the unbelieving might not have in them larger room for cavilling.
For let us ask them, do they believe the miracles which are written, or do they not! And when they look incredulous, we can then establish that they who believe not the lesser would not have believed the greater.
Chrys.: This that the Lord speaks of He ascribes to prayer and faith; whence He continues, “And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing ye shall receive.”
Origen: For Christ’s disciples pray for nothing that they ought not, and as confiding in their Master they pray only for things great and heavenly.
Raban.: But whenever we are not heard when we pray, it is either because we ask something adverse to the means of our salvation; or because the perverseness of those for whom we ask hinders its being granted to them; or because the performance of our request is put off to a future time, that our desires may wax stronger, and so may have more perfect capacity for the joys they seek after.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 68: It must be considered that Mark relates the wonder of the disciples at the withering of the tree, and the answer of the Lord concerning faith, to have been not on the day following the cursing of the tree, but on the third day after; and that on the second day Mark relates the casting of the merchants out of the Temple, which he had omitted on the first day. On the second day then he says that He went forth out of the city in the evening, and that as they passed by in the morning, the disciples then saw that the fig tree was withered.
But Matthew speaks as though all this had been [p. 719] done on the day following. This must be so taken as that when Matthew, having related that the fig tree was dried up, adds immediately, omitting all the events of the second day, “And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled,” he yet meant that it was on another day that they marvelled. For the tree must be supposed to have withered at the time it was cursed, not at the time they saw it. For they did not see it withering, but when it was withered, and by that they understood that it had withered immediately upon the Lord’s words.
Origen: Mystically; the Lord leaving the Chief Priests and Scribes withdrew without the earthly Jerusalem, which therefore fell. He came to Bethany to ‘The house of obedience,’ that is, to the Church, where when He had taken rest after the first erecting of the Church, He returned to the city which He had left a little while before, and returning, He was an hungred.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For had His hunger been as man for carnal food, He would not have hungred in the morning; he truly hungers in the morning who hungers after the salvation of others.
Jerome: The tree which He saw by the wayside we understand as the synagogue, which was nigh to the way inasmuch as it had the Law, but yet believed not on the way, that is, on Christ.
Hilary: And that is compared to a fig tree, because the Apostles being the first believers out of Israel, like green figs shall in the glory, and the time, of their resurrection, be before the rest.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Also the fig in respect of the multitude of seeds under one skin is as it were an assembly of the faithful. But He finds nothing on it but leaves only, that is, pharisaical traditions, an outward shew of the Law without the fruits of truth.
Origen: And because this plant was figuratively a living creature, having a soul, He speaks to it as though it heard. “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.” Therefore is the Jewish synagogue barren, and shall continue so until the end of the world, when the multitude of the Gentiles shall come in; and the fig tree withered while Christ was yet sojourning in this life; and the disciples seeing by their spiritual discernment the mystery of the withered faith, wondered; and having faith, and not doubting, they bare it, and so it withers when their lifegiving virtue passes to the Gentiles; and by each one [p. 720] who is brought to the faith, that mountain Satan is lifted up and cast into the sea, that is, into the abyss.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or; “Into the sea,” that is, into the world where the waters are salt, i.e. the people are wicked.
Raban.: And he avenges his exclusion from the elect by more cruel treatment of the reprobate.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 29: Or, this is to be said by each servant of God in his own case respecting the mountain of pride, to cast it from him. Or, because by Jews the Gospel was preached, the Lord Himself, who is called the mount, is by the Jews cast among the Gentiles as into a sea.
Origen: For every man who is obedient to the word of God is Bethany, and Christ abides in him; but the wicked and the sinners He leaves. And when He has been with the righteous, He goes to other righteous after them, and accompanied by them; for it is not said that He left Bethany and went into the city. The Lord ever is an hungred among the righteous, desiring to eat among them the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which are love, joy, peace. But this fig tree which had leaves only without fruit, grew by the wayside.
Pseudo-Chrys.: That is, nigh to the world; for if a man lives nigh to the world, he cannot preserve in himself the fruit of righteousness.
Origen: But if the Lord come seeking fruit with temptations, and one be found having nought of righteousness but only a profession of faith, which is leaves without fruit, he is soon withered, losing even his seeming faith; and every disciple makes this fig tree to wither, by making it be seen that he is void of Christ, as Peter said to Simon, “Thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” [Acts 8:21]
For it is better that a deceitful fig tree which is thought to be alive, yet brings forth no fruit, should be withered up at the word of Christ’s disciples, than that by an imposture it should steal away innocent hearts. Also there is in every unbeliever a mountain great in proportion to his unbelief, which is removed by the words of Christ’s disciples.
drb › Matthew › 21 › Verse 17 through 22
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 26:6-13
Gloss, non. occ.: Having set before us the counsels of the chief of the Jews concerning the death of Christ, the Evangelist would proceed to follow out their execution, and to relate the bargain of Judas with the Jews to deliver Him up, but be first [p. 877] shews the cause of this betrayal. He was grieved that the ointment which the woman poured upon Christ’s head had not been sold that he might have carried off something out of the price it brought, and to make up this loss he was willing to betray his Master.
And therefore he proceeds, “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper.”
Jerome: Not that he was a leper yet, but having been so, and having been healed by the Saviour, be retained the appellation to shew forth the power of Him who healed him.
Raban.: “Alabaster” is a kind of marble, white but marked with veins of different colours, which was in use for vessels to hold ointment, because it was said to preserve it from corruption.
Jerome: Another Evangelist instead of ‘alabastruin’ has ‘nardum pisticam,’ that is, genuine, unadulterated. [marg. note: John 12:3]
Raban.: From the Greek, πιστις, faith, whence ‘pisticus,’ faithful. For this ointment was pure, unadulterated.
Origen: Some one may perhaps think that there are four different women of whom the Evangelists have written, but I rather agree with those who think that they are only three; one of whom Matthew and Mark wrote, one of whom Luke, another of whom John.
Jerome: For let no one think that she who anointed His head and she who anointed His feet were one and the same; for the latter washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and is plainly said to have been a harlot. But of this woman nothing of this kind is recorded, and indeed a harlot could not have at once been made deserving of the Lord’s head.
Ambrose, Ambros. in Luc. 7, 37: It is possible therefore that they were different persons, and so all appearance of contradiction between the Evangelists is removed. Or it is possible that it was the same woman at two different times and two different stages of desert; first while yet a sinner, afterwards more advanced.
Chrys., Hom. lxxx: And in this way it may be the same in the three Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And not without good reason does the Evangelist mention Simon’s leprosy, to shew what gave this woman confidence to come to Christ. The leprosy was an unclean disease; when then she saw that Jesus had healed the man with whom He now lodged, she trusted that He could also cleanse the uncleanness of her soul; and so whereas other women came to Christ to be healed in their bodies, she came only for the honour and the healing [p. 878] of her soul, having nothing diseased in her body; and for this she is worthy our highest admiration. But she in John is a different woman, the wonderful sister of Lazarus.
Origen: Matthew and Mark relate that this was done in the house of Simon the leper; but John says that Jesus came to a house where Lazarus was; and that not Simon, but Mary and Martha served. Further, according to John, six days before the Passover, He came to Bethany where Mary and Martha made Him a supper. But here it is in the house of Simon the leper, and two days before the Passover.
And in Matthew and Mark, it is the disciples that have indignation with a good intent; in John, Judas alone with intent to steal; in Luke, no one finds fault.
Greg., Hom. in Ev., xxxiii, 1: Or, we may think that this is the same woman whom Luke calls a “sinner,” and John names Mary.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 79: Though the action described in Luke is the same as that described here, and the name of him with whom the Lord supped is the same, for Luke also names Simon; yet because it is not contrary to either nature or custom for two men to bear the same name, it is more probable that this was another Simon, not the leper, in whose house in Bethany these things were done.
I would only suppose that the woman who on that occasion came near to Jesus’ feet, and this woman, were not two different persons, but that the same Mary did this twice. The first time is that narrated by Luke; for John mentions it in praise of Mary before Christ’s coming to Bethany, “It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” [John 11:2] Mary therefore had done this before. That she did afterwards in Bethany is distinct from Luke’s account, but is the same event that is recorded by all three, John, Matthew, and Mark. That Matthew and Mark say it was the Lord’s head that she anointed, and John His feet, is reconciled by supposing that she anointed both.
Against this one might raise a cavil from what Mark says, that she anointed His head by breaking the box over it, so that there could be none of the ointment left with which to anoint His feet also. Let such caviller understand, that His feet were first anointed before the box was broken, and there remained in it, yet whole, enough wherewith to anoint the head by breaking the box and shedding the contents. [p. 879]
Aug., de Doctr. Christ., iii, 12: But let not any suppose that the Lord’s feet were by this woman bathed in ointment after the manner which the luxurious and debauched use. In all things of this nature, it is not the thing itself, but the mind of him who uses it, that is in fault. Whoso uses things after such sort as to pass the bounds observed by good men with whom he lives, either has some meaning [marg. note: aliquid significat] in what he does, or is vicious. What then is vice in others, in a divine or prophetic person is a sign of some great thing.
The good odour is the good report which one has gained by the works of a good life, and in following Christ’s footsteps sheds a most precious odour on His feet.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: Still there may seem to be some discrepancy between the narrative of Matthew and Mark, who say, that “after two days is the feast of the Passover,” and then bring Jesus to Bethany; and that of John, who, relating this history of the ointment, says “Six days before the Passover.”
They who urge this do not understand that the events in Bethany are in Matthew and Mark inserted out of their place, a little later than the time of their occurrence. Neither of them, it is to be observed, introduce their account with ‘afterwards.’
Chrys.: The disciples had heard their Master say, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,” [Matt 9:13] wherefore they thought among themselves, If He accepts not burnt-offerings, much less will He the application of such ointment as this.
Jerome: I know that some raise a cavil here, because John says that Judas alone was grieved because he had the bag, and was a thief from the beginning; but Matthew, that all the disciples were sorrowful. These know not the figure syllepsis, by which one name is put for many, and many for one; as Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews says, “They were sawn asunder,” [Heb 11:37] when it is thought that one only, Esaias namely, was so.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 79: We may however understand that the other disciples thought or said the same, or that they assented to what Judas said, and thus Matthew and Mark have described their common consent. But Judas said it because he was a thief, the others out of their care for the poor; and John desired to mention it only in the case of him whose thievish propensity he thought ought to be recorded.
Chrys.: The disciples then thought thus, but Jesus, who saw the thoughts of the woman, suffered it. For her piety was great, and her ardour unspeakable, wherefore He [p. 880] condescended to suffer her to pour the ointment on His head. As the Father admitted the smoke and odour of the slain victim, so also Christ admitted this votive anointing of His head, though the disciples, who saw not her heart, murmured.
Remig.: He clearly shews that the Apostles had uttered something harsh against her, when He says, “Why trouble ye the woman?” And beautifully He adds, “She hath wrought a good work in me;” as much as to say, It is not a waste of ointment, as ye say, but a good work, that is, a service of piety and devotion.
Chrys.: And He says not merely, “She hath wrought a good work,” but says first, “Why trouble ye the woman?” to teach us that every good act that is wrought by any, even though it lack somewhat of exact propriety, yet we ought to receive, cherish, and cultivate it, and not to require strict correctness in a beginner. If He had been asked before this was done by the woman, He would not have directed its doing; but when it was done, the rebuke of the disciples had no longer any place, and He Himself to guard the woman from importunate attacks speaks these things for her comfort.
Remig.: “For the poor ye have ever with you.” The Lord shews in these words as of set purpose, that they were not to be blamed who ministered of their substance to Him while He dwelt in a mortal body; forasmuch as the poor were ever in the Church, to whom the believers might do good whensoever they would, but He would abide in the body with them but a very short time.
Whence it follows, “But me ye shall not have always.”
Jerome: Here a question arises how the Lord should have said elsewhere to His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world;” [Matt 28:20] but here, “Me ye shall not have always.”
I suppose that in this place He speaks of His bodily presence, which shall not be with them after the resurrection in daily intercourse and friendship, as it is now.
Remig.: Or, it is to be explained by supposing this spoken to Judas only; and He said not, Ye have not, but “Ye shall not have,” because this was spoken in the person of Judas to all his followers. And He says, “Not always,” though they have it at no time, because the wicked seem to have Christ in this present world, while they mix among His members and approach His table, but they shall not always so have Him when He shall say to His elect, “Come, ye blessed of my Father.” [Matt 25:34]
It [p. 881] was the custom among this people to embalm the bodies of the dead with divers spices, to the end that they might be kept from corruption as long as possible. And as this woman was desirous of embalming the Lord’s dead Body, and would not be able because she would be anticipated by His resurrection, it was therefore arranged by Divine Providence that she should anoint the Lord’s living Body. This then is what He says, “In that she hath poured,” that is, By anointing My living Body she shews forth My death and burial.
Chrys.: That this mention of His death and burial might not cause her to despond, He comforts her by what follows, “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever &c.”
Raban.: That is, To whatsoever place throughout the whole world the Church shall be propagated, there this also that she hath done shall be told. That also that is added signifies, that as Judas by his reproof of her has earned evil character of treachery, so has she also earned the glory of pious devotedness.
Jerome: Note His knowledge of things to come, how though about to suffer death within two days, He knows that His Gospel will be preached throughout the whole world.
Chrys.: Behold the accomplishment of this saying; to whatsoever part of the world you go, you will find this woman famous, and this has been wrought by the power of Him who spake this word. How many victories of kings and captains have passed into oblivion; how many who built cities and enslaved many nations are now known neither by report nor by name; but the deed of this woman pouring forth ointment in the house of a leper in the presence of twelve men, this resounds throughout the world, and though so much time has elapsed, the memory of that which was done is not effaced.
But why promised He no spiritual gift to this woman, but everlasting remembrance only? Because this He did promise made her confident of receiving the other also; whereas she wrought a good work, it is clear that she shall receive an adequate reward.
Jerome: Mystically; The Lord, about to suffer for the whole world, sojourns in Bethany, in the house of obedience, which once was that of Simon the leper. Simon also is interpreted ‘obedient,’ or, according to another interpretation, ‘the world,’ in whose house the Church is healed.
Origen: Oil is throughout Scripture put for the work of mercy, with [p. 882] which the lamp of the word is fed; or for doctrine, the hearing of which sustains the word of faith when once kindled. All with which men anoint is comprehensively called oil; and one kind of oil is unguent, and one kind of unguent is precious. So all righteous acts are called good works; and of good works there is one kind which we do for, or to, men; another which we do for, or to, God. And this likewise that we do for God, in part only advances the good of men, in part, the glory of God.
For example, one does a kindness to a man out of feelings of natural righteousness, not for God’s sake, as the Gentiles sometime did; such a work is common oil of no fine savour, yet is it acceptable to God, forasmuch, as Peter says in Clement, the good works that the unbelievers do, profit them in this world, but avail not to gain them eternal life in another. They who do the same for God’s sake, profit thereby not in this world only but in the next also, and that they do is ointment of good savour.
Another sort is that done for the good of men, as alms, and the like. He who does this to Christians, anoints the Lord’s feet, for they are the Lord’s feet; and this penitents are most found to do for remission of their sins. He who devotes himself to chastity, and continues in fastings and prayers, and other things which conduce to God’s glory only, this is the ointment which anoints the Lord’s head, and with whose odour the whole Church is filled; this is the work meet not for penitents, but for the perfect, or the doctrine which is necessary for men; but the acknowledgment of the faith which belongs to God alone, is the ointment with which the head of Christ is anointed, with which we “are buried together with Christ by baptism into death.” [Rom 6:4]
Hilary: In this woman is prefigured the people of the Gentiles, who gave glory to God in Christ’s passion; for she anointed His head, but the head of Christ is God, and ointment is the fruit of good works. But the disciples, anxious for the salvation of Israel, say that this ought to have been sold for the use of the poor; designating by a prophetic instinct the Jews, who lacked faith, by the name of the poor. The Lord answers that there is abundant time in which they may shew their care for the poor, but that salvation cannot be extended to the Gentiles [p. 883] but by obedience to His command, if, that is, by the pouring out of this woman’s ointment they are buried together with Him, because regeneration can only be given to those who are dead in the profession of baptism. And this her work shall be told wherever this Gospel is preached, because when Israel draws back, the glory of the Gospel is preached by the belief of the Gentiles.
drb › Matthew › 26 › Verse 6 through 13
Score: 1.00Commentary for Matthew 27:51-56
Origen: Great things were done at the moment that Jesus cried with a great voice.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 19: The wording sufficiently shews that the veil was rent just when He gave up the ghost. If he had not added, “And, lo!” but had merely said, “And the veil of the temple was rent,: it would have been uncertain whether Matthew and Mark had not inserted it here out of its place as they recollected, and Luke had observed the right order, who having said, “And the sun was darkened,” adds, “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain;” [Luke 23:45] or, on the contrary, Luke had returned to what they had inserted in its place.
Origen: It is understood that there were two veils; one veiling the Holy of Holies, the other, the outer part of the tabernacle or temple. In the Passion then of our Lord and Saviour, it was the outer veil which was rent from the top to the bottom, that by the rending of the veil from the beginning to the end of the world, the mysteries might be published which had been hid with good reason until the Lord’s coming. “But when that which is perfect is come,” [1 Cor 13:10] then the second veil also shall be taken away, that we may see the things that are hidden within, to wit, the true Ark of the Testament, and behold the Cherubim and the rest in their real nature.
Hilary; Or, The veil of the temple is rent, because from this time the nation was dispersed, and the honour of the veil is taken away with the guardianship of the protecting Angel.
Leo, in Serm. de Pass., non occ.: The sudden commotion in the elements is a sufficient sign in witness of His venerable Passion, “The earth quaked, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened.”
Jerome: It is not doubtful to any what these great signs signify according to the letter, namely, that heaven and earth and all things should bear witness to their crucified Lord.
Hilary: “The earth quaked,” because it was unequal to contain such a body; “the rocks rent,” for the Word of God that pierces all strong and mighty things, and the virtue of the eternal Power had penetrated them; “the graves were opened,” for the bands of death were loosed. “And many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” for illumining the darkness of death, and shedding light upon the gloom of Hades, He robbed the spirits of death.
Chrys.: When He remained on the cross they had said tauntingly, “He saved others, himself he cannot save.” But what He would not do for Himself, that He did [p. 964] and more than that for the bodies of the Saints. For if it was a great thing to raise Lazarus after four days, much more was it that they who had long slept should now shew themselves alive; this is indeed a proof of the resurrection to come. But that it might not be thought that that which was done was an appearance merely, the Evangelist adds, “And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
Jerome: As Lazarus rose from the dead, so also did many bodies of the Saints rise again to shew forth the Lord’s resurrection; yet notwithstanding that the graves were opened, they did not rise again before the Lord rose, that He might be the first-born of the resurrection from the dead.
“The holy city” in which they were seen after they had risen may be understood to mean either the heavenly Jerusalem, or this earthly, which once had been holy. For the city of Jerusalem was called Holy on account of the Temple and the Holy of Holies, and to distinguish it from other cities in which idols were worshipped.
When it is said, “And appeared unto many,” it is signified that this was not a general resurrection which all should see, but special, seen only by such as were worthy to see it.
Remig.: But some one will ask, what became of those who rose again when the Lord rose. We must believe that they rose again to be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection. Some have said that they died again, and were turned to dust, as Lazarus and the rest whom the Lord raised. But we must by no means give credit to these men’s sayings, since if they were to die again, it would be greater torment to them, than if they had not risen again. We ought therefore to believe without hesitation that they who rose from the dead at the Lord’s resurrection, ascended also into heaven together with Him.
Origen: These same mighty works are still done every day; the veil of the temple is rent for the Saints, in order to reveal the things that are contained within. The earthquakes, that is, all flesh because of the new word and new things of the New Testament. The rocks are rent, i.e. the mystery of the Prophets, that we may see the spiritual mysteries bid in their depths. The graves are the bodies of sinful souls, that is, souls dead to God; but when by God’s grace these souls have been raised, their bodies which before were graves, become [p. 965] bodies of Saints, and appear to go out of themselves, and follow Him who rose again, and walk with Him in newness of life; and such as are worthy to have their conversation in heaven enter into the Holy City at divers times, and appear unto many who see their good works.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 20: It is no contradiction here that Matthew says, that “The centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus, feared when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done;” while Luke says, that he wondered at the giving up the ghost with a loud voice. For when Matthew adds, the things that were done, this gives full scope for Luke’s expression, that he wondered at the Lord’s death, for this among the rest was wonderful.
Jerome: Observe, that in the very midst of the offence of His passion the Centurion acknowledges the Son of God, while Arius in the Church proclaims Him a creature.
Raban.: Whence with good reason by the Centurion is denoted the faith of the Church, which, when the veil of heavenly mysteries had been rent by the Lord’s death, immediately asserts Jesus to be both very Man, and truly Son of God, while the Synagogue held its peace.
Leo, Serm. 66, 3: From this example then of the Centurion let the substance of the earth tremble in the punishment of it Redeemer, let the rocks of unbelieving minds be rent, and those who were pent up in these sepulchres of mortality leap forth, bursting the bonds that would detain them; and let them shew themselves in the Holy City, i.e. the Church of God, as signs of the Resurrection to come; and thus let that take place in the heart, which we must believe takes place in the body.
Jerome: It was a Jewish custom, and held no disgrace, according to the manners of the people of old, for women to minister of their substance, food, and clothing to their teachers. This Paul says, that he refused, because it might occasion scandal among the Gentiles. They ministered to the Lord of their substance, that He might reap their carnal things, of whom they reaped spiritual things. Not that the Lord needed food of the creature, but that He might set an example for the teacher, that He should be content to receive food and clothing from His disciples.
But let us see what sort of attendants He had; “Among whom was Mary Magdalene [p. 966], and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.”
Origen: In Mark the third is called Salome.
Chrys.: These women thus watching the things that are done are the most compassionate, the most sorrowful. They had followed Him ministering, and remained by Him in danger, shewing the highest courage, for when the disciples fled they remained.
Jerome, Hieron. adv. Helvid.: ‘See,’ says Helvidius, ‘Jacob and Joseph are the sons of Mary the Lord’s mother, whom the Jews call the brethren of Christ. [marg. note: Mark 6:3] He is also called James the less, to distinguish him from James the greater, who was the son of Zebedee.’ And he urges that ‘it were impious to suppose that His mother Mary would be absent, when the other women were there; or that we should have to invent some other third unknown person of the name of Mary, and that too when John’s Gospel witnesses that His mother was present.’
O blind folly! O mind perverted to its own destruction! Hear what the Evangelist John says: “There stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” [John 19:25]
No one can doubt that there were two Apostles called James; the son of Zebedee, and the son of Alpheus. This unknown James the less, whom Scripture mentions as the son of Mary, if he is an Apostle, is the son of Alpheus; if he is not an Apostle, but a third unknown James, how can he be supposed to be the Lord’s brother, and why should he be styled ‘The Less,’ to distinguish him from ‘The Greater?’ For The Greater and The Less are epithets which distinguish two persons, but not three. And that the James, the Lord’s brother, was an Apostle, is proved by Paul, “Other of the Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.” [Gal 1:19]
But that you should not suppose this James to be the son of Zebedee, read the Acts, where he was put to death by Herod. [marg. note: Acts 12:1] The conclusion then remains, that this Mary, who is described as the mother of James the less, was wife of Alpheus, and sister of Mary the Lord’s mother, called by John, Mary the wife of Cleophas. But should you incline to think them two different persons, because in one place she is called Mary the mother of James the less, and in another place Mary the wife of Cleophas, you will learn the Scripture custom of calling the same man by different names; as [p. 967] Raguel Moses’ father-in-law is called Jethro. In like manner then, Mary the wife of Cleophas is called the wife of Alpheus, and the mother of James the less. For if she had been the Lord’s mother, the Evangelist would here, as in all other places, have called her so, and not described her as the mother of James, when he meant to designate the mother of the Lord.
But even if Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, were different persons, it is still certain, that Mary the mother of James and Joses was not the Lord’s mother.
Aug.: We might have supposed that some of the women stood “afar off,” as three Evangelists say, and others “near the cross,” as John says, had not Matthew and Mark reckoned Mary Magdalen among those that stood afar off, while John puts her among those that stood near. This is reconciled if we understand the distance at which they were to be such that they might be said to be near, because they were in His sight; but far off in comparison of the crowd who stood nearer with the centurion and soldiers. We might also suppose that they who were there together with the Lord’s mother, began to depart after He had commended her to the disciple, that they might extricate themselves from the crowd, and looked on from a distance at the other things which were done, so that the Evangelists, who speak of them after the Lord’s death, speak of them as standing afar off.
drb › Matthew › 27 › Verse 51 through 56
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 2:1-12
Bede, in Marc., 1, 10: Because the compassion of God deserts not even carnal persons, He accords to them the grace of His presence, by which even they may be made spiritual. After the desert, the Lord returns into the city.
Wherefore it is said, “And again He entered into Capernaum, &c.”
Augustine, de Con. Evan., ii, 25: But
Matthew writes this miracle as if it were done in the city of the Lord, whilst
Mark places it in Capernaum, which would be more difficult of solution, if
Matthew had also named Nazareth. But seeing that Galilee itself might be called
the city of the Lord, who can doubt but that the Lord did these things in His
own city, since He did them in
Or else, Matthew passed by the things which were done after He came into His own city, until He came to Capernaum, and so adds on the story of the paralytic healed, subjoining, “And, behold, they presented to Him a man sick of the palsy,” after he had said that He came into His own city.
It goes on: “And it was noised that He was in the house, &c.”
For the desire of hearing Him was stronger that the toil of approaching Him. After this, they introduce the paralytic, of whom Matthew and Luke speak; wherefore there follows: “And they came unto Him bearing one sick of the palsy, who was carried by four.”
Finding the door blocked up by the crowd, they could not by any means enter that way. Those who carried him, however, hoping that he could merit the grace of being healed, raising the bed with their burden, and uncovering the roof, lay him with his bed before the face of the Saviour.
And this is that which is added: “And when they could not lay him before Him, &c.”
There follows: “But when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”
He did not mean the faith of the sick man, but of his bearers; for it sometimes happens that a man is healed by the faith of another.
Bede: It may indeed be seen how much each person’s own faith weighs with God, when that of another had such influence that the whole man at once rose up, healed body and soul, and by one man’s merit, another should have his sins forgiven him.
Theophylact: He saw the faith of the sick man himself, since he would not have allowed himself to be carried, unless he’d had faith to be healed.
Bede: Moreover, the Lord being about to cure the man of the palsy, first loosed the chains of his sins, in order to shew that he was condemned to the loosening of his joints, because of the bonds of his sins, and could not be healed to the recovery of his limbs, unless these were first loosened.
But Christ’s wonderful humility calls this man, despised, weak, with all the joints of his limbs unstrung, a son, when the priests did not deign to touch him. Or at least, He therefore calls him a son because his sins are forgiven him.
It goes on: “But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man speak blasphemies?”
Cyril [ed. note: Nicolai observes on this passage, Nihil tale occurrit in Cyrillo, tametsi blasphemiae ideo a Judaeis improperatae Christo meminit in Johannem, Lib. ii, e.3.]: Now they accuse Him of blasphemy, anticipating the sentence of His death: for there was a command in the Law, that whosoever blasphemed should be put to death. And this charge they laid upon Him, because He claimed for Himself the divine power of remitting sins.
Wherefore it is added, “Who can forgive sin, save God only?” For the Judge of all alone has power to forgive sin.
Bede: Who remits sin by those also to whom He has assigned the power of remitting, and therefore Christ is proved to be very God, for He is able to remit sins as God.
The Jews then are in error, who although they hold the Christ both to be God, and to be able to remit sins, do not however believe that Jesus is the Christ.
But the Arians err much more madly, who [p. 40] although overwhelmed with the words of the Evangelist, so that they cannot deny that Jesus is the Christ, and can remit sin, nevertheless fear not to deny that He is God.
But He Himself, desiring to shame the traitors both by His knowledge of things hidden and by the virtue of His works, manifests Himself to be God.
For there follows: “And immediately when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they so reasoned, He said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?”
In which He shews Himself to be God, since He can know the hidden things of the heart; and in a manner though silent He speaks thus, With the same power and majesty, by which I look upon your thoughts, I can forgive the sins of men.
Theophylact: But though their thoughts were laid bare, still they remain insensible, refusing to believe that He who knew their hearts could forgive sins, wherefore the Lord proves to them the cure of the soul by that of the body, shewing the invisible by the visible, that which is more difficult by that which is easier, although they did not look upon it as such.
For the Pharisees thought it more difficult to heal the body, as being more open to view; but the soul more easy to cure, because the cure is invisible; so that they reasoned thus, Lo, He does not now cure the body, but heals the unseen soul; if He’d had more power, He would at once have cured the body, and not have fled for refuge to the unseen world.
The Saviour, therefore, shewing that He can do both, says, “Which is easier?” as if He said, I indeed by the healing of the body, which is in reality more easy, but appears to you more difficult, will prove to you the health of the soul, which is really more difficult.
Wherefore He subjoins, “But that ye may know, &c.” as if He said, Since ye doubt My word, I will bring on a work which will confirm what was unseen.
But He says in a marked manner, “On earth to forgive sins,” that He might shew that He has joined the power of the divinity to the human nature by an inseparable union, because although He was made man, yet He remained the Word of God; and although by an economy He conversed on the earth with men, nevertheless He was not prevented from working miracles and from giving remission of sins.
For His human nature did not in any thing take away from these things which essentially belonged to His Divinity, nor the Divinity hinder the Word of God from becoming on earth, according to the flesh, the Son of Man without change and in truth.
Theophylact: Again, He says, “Take up thy bed,” to prove the greater certainty of the miracle, shewing that it is not a mere illusion; and at the same time to shew that He not only healed, but gave strength; thus He not only turns away souls from sin, but gives them the power of working out the commandments.
Bede: A carnal sign therefore is given, that the spiritual sign may be proved, although it belongs to the same power to do away with the distempers of both soul and body.
Whence it follows: “And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all.”
Chrys.: Further, He first healed by the remission of sins that which He had come to seek, that is, a soul, so that when they faithlessly doubted, then He might bring forward a work before them, and in this way His word might be confirmed by the work, and a hidden sign be proved by an open one, that is, the health of the soul by the healing of the body.
Bede: We are also informed, that many sicknesses of body arise from sins, and therefore perhaps sins are first remitted, that the causes of sickness being taken away, health may be restored. For men are afflicted by fleshly troubles for five causes, in order to increase their merits, as Job and the Martyrs; or to preserve their lowliness, as Paul by the messenger of Satan; or that they may perceive and correct their sins, as Miriam, the sister of Moses, and this paralytic; or for the glory of God, as the man born blind and Lazarus; or as the beginnings of the pains of damnation, as Herod and Antiochus.
But wonderful is the virtue of the Divine power, where without the least interval of time, by the command of the Saviour, a speedy health accompanies His words.
Wherefore there follows: “Insomuch that they were all amazed.” Leaving the greater thing, that is, the remission of sins, they only wonder at that which is apparent, that is, the health of the body.
Theophylact: This is not however the paralytic, whose cure is related by John, [John 5] for he had no man with him, this one had four; he is cured in the pool of the sheep market, but this one in a house. It is the same man, however, whose cure is related by Matthew [Matt. 9] and Mark.
But mystically, Christ is still in Capernaum, in the house of consolation.
Bede: Moreover, whilst the Lord is
preaching in the house, there is not room for them, not even at the door,
because whilst Christ is preaching in
Pseudo-Jerome: Again, the palsy is a type of the torpor, in which man lies slothful in the softness of the flesh, though desiring health.
Theophylact: If therefore I, having the powers of my mind unstrung, remain, whenever I attempt any thing good without strength, as a palsied man, and if I be raised on high by the four Evangelists, and be brought to Christ, and there hear myself called son, then also are my sins quitted by me; for a man is called the son of God because he works the commandments.
Bede: Or else, because there are four virtues, by which a man is through an assured heart exalted so that he merits safety; which virtues some call prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice. Again, they desire to bring the palsied man to Christ, but they are impeded on every side by the crowd which is between them, because often the soul desires to be renewed by the medicine of Divine grace, but through the sluggishness of the grovelling body is held back by the hindrance of old custom. Oftentimes amidst the very sweetness of secret prayer, and, as it may be called, the pleasant converse with God, a crowd of thoughts, cutting off the clear vision of the mind, shuts out Christ from its sight.
Let us not then remain in the lowest ground, where the crowds are bustling, but aim at the roof of the house, that is, the sublimity of the Holy Scripture, and meditate on the law of the Lord.
Theophylact: But how should I be borne to Christ, if the roof be not opened. For the roof is the intellect, which is set above all those things which are within us; here it has much earth about it in the tiles which are made of clay, I mean, earthly things: but if these be taken away, the virtue of the intellect within us is freed from its load. After this let it be let down, that is, humbled. For it does not teach us to be puffed up, because our intellect has its load cleared away, but to be humbled still more.
Bede: Or else, the sick man is let down after the roof is opened, because, when the Scriptures are laid open to us we arrive at the knowledge of Christ, that is, we descend to His lowliness, by the dutifulness of faith. But by the sick man being let down with his bed, it is meant that Christ should be known by man, whilst yet in the flesh.
But by rising from the bed is meant the soul’s rousing itself from carnal desires, in which it was lying in sickness. To take up the bed is to bridle the flesh itself by the bands of continence, and to separate it from earthly pleasures, through the hope of heavenly rewards.
But to take up the bed and to go home is to return to paradise. Or else the man, now healed, who had been sick carries back home his bed, when the soul, after receiving remission of sins, returns, even though encompassed with the body, to its internal watch over itself.
Theophylact: It is necessary to take up also one’s bed, that is the body, to the working of good. For then shall we be able to arrive at contemplation, so that our thoughts should say within us, never have we seen in this way before, that is never understood as we have done since we have been cured of the palsy; for he who is cleansed from sin, sees more purely.
drb › Mark › 2 › Verse 1 through 12
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 5:35-43
Theophylact: Those who were about the ruler of the synagogue, thought that Christ was one of the prophets, and for this reason they thought that they should beg of Him to come and pray over the damsel. But because she had already expired, they thought that He ought not to be asked to do so.
Therefore it is said, “While He yet spake, there came messengers to the ruler of the synagogue, which said, Thy daughter is dead; why troublest thou the Master any further?”
But the Lord Himself persuades the father to have confidence.
For it goes on, “As soon as Jesus heard the word which was spoken, He saith to the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid; only believe.”
Augustine: It is not said that he assented to his friends who brought the tidings and wished to prevent the Master from coming, so that our Lord’s saying, “Fear not, only believe,” is not a rebuke for his want of faith, but was intended to strengthen the belief which he had already. But if the Evangelist had related, that the ruler of the synagogue joined the friends who came from his house, in saying that Jesus should not be troubled, the words which Matthew relates him to have said, namely, that the damsel was dead, would then have been contrary to what was in his mind.
It goes on, “And He suffered no man to follow Him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.”
Theophylact: For Christ in His lowliness would not do any thing for display.
It goes on, “And He cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.”
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: But He Himself commands them not to wail, as if the damsel was not dead, [p. 102] but sleeping.
Wherefore it says, “And when He was come in, He saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”
Pseudo-Jerome: It was told the ruler of the synagogue, Thy daughter is dead. But Jesus said to him, She is not dead, but sleepeth. Bother are true, for the meaning is, She is dead to you, but to Me she is asleep.
Bede: For to men she was dead, who were unable to raise her up; but to God she was asleep, in whose purpose both the soul was living, and the flesh was resting, to rise again. Whence it became a custom amongst Christians, that the dead, who, they doubt not, will rise again, should be said to sleep.
It goes on, “And they laughed Him to scorn.”
Theophylact: But they laugh at Him, as if unable to do any thing farther; and in this He convicts them of bearing witness involuntarily, that she was really dead whom He raised up, and therefore, that it would be a miracle if He raised her.
Bede: Because they chose rather to laugh at than to believe in this saying concerning her resurrection, they are deservedly excluded from the place, as unworthy to witness His power in raising her, and the mystery of her rising.
Wherefore it goes on, “But when He had put them all out, He taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with Him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.”
Chrys.: Or else, to take away all display, He suffered not all to be with Him; that, however, He might leave behind Him witnesses of His divine power, He chose His three chief disciples and the father and mother of the damsel, as being necessary above all. And He restores life to the damsel both by His hand, and by word of mouth.
Wherefore it says, “And He took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise.”
For the hand of Jesus, having a quickening power, quickens the dead body, and His voice raises her as she is lying.
Wherefore it follows, “And straightway the damsel arose and walked.”
Jerome, Hier. ad Pam., Ep. 57: Some one may accuse the Evangelist of a falsehood in his explanation, in that he had added, “I say unto thee,” when in Hebrew, “Talitha cumi” only means, “Damsel, arise;” but He adds, “I say unto thee, Arise,” to express that His meaning was to call and command her.
It goes on, “For she was of the age of twelve years.”
Gloss.: The Evangelist added this, [p. 103] to shew that she was of an age to walk. By her walking, she is shewn to have been not only raised up, but also perfectly cured.
It continues, “And they were astonished with a great astonishment.”
Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 81: To shew that He had raised her really, and not only to the eye of fancy.
Bede: Mystically; the woman was cured of a bloody flux, and immediately after the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue is reported to be dead, because as soon as the Church of the Gentiles is washed from the stain of vice, and called daughter by the merits of her faith, at once the synagogue is broken up on account of its zealous treachery and envy; treachery, because it did not choose to believe in Christ; envy, because it was vexed at the faith of the Church.
What the messengers told the ruler of the synagogue, “Why troublest thou the Master any more,” is said by those in this day who, seeing the state of the synagogue, deserted by God, believe that it cannot be restored, and therefore think that we are not to pray that it should be restored. But if the ruler of the synagogue, that is, the assembly of the teachers of the Law, determine to believe, the synagogue also, which is subjected to them, will be saved.
Further, because the synagogue lost the joy of having Christ to dwell in it, as its faithlessness deserved, it lies dead as it were, amongst persons weeping and wailing. Again, our Lord raised the damsel by taking hold of her hand, because the hands of the Jews, which are full of blood, must first be cleansed, else the synagogue, which is dead, cannot rise again. But in the woman with the bloody flux, and the raising of the damsel, is shewn the salvation of the human race, which was so ordered by the Lord, that first some from Judaea, then the fulness of the Gentiles, might come in, and so all Israel might be saved. Again, the damsel was twelve years old, and the woman had suffered for twelve years, because the sinning of unbelievers was contemporary with the beginning of the faith of believers.
Wherefore it is said, “Abraham believed on God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” [Gen 15:6]
[ed. note: Bede’s own words are rather more clear than those in the Catena: “That is, the woman began to be afflicted at the same time as the damsel was born; for nearly at the same period of the world the synagogue began to arise amongst the patriarchs, and the race of Gentiles throughout the world to be polluted with idolatry.”]
Greg., Mor. 4, 27: Morally again, our Redeemer raised the damsel in the house, the young man without the gate, Lazarus in the tomb; he still lies dead in the house, whose sin is concealed; he is carried without the gate, whose sin has broken forth into the madness of an open deed; he lies crushed under the mound of the tomb, who in the commission of sin, lies powerless beneath the weight of habit.
Bede: And we may remark, that lighter and daily errors may be cured by the remedy of a lighter penance. Wherefore the Lord raises the damsel, lying in the inner chamber with a very easy cry, saying, “Damsel, arise;” but that he who had been four days dead might quit the prison of the tomb, He groaned in spirit, He was troubled, He shed tears. In proportion, then, as the death of the soul presses the more heavily, so much the more ardently must the fervour of the penitent press forward.
But this too must be observed, that a public crime requires a public reparation; wherefore Lazarus, when called from the sepulchre, was placed before the eyes of the people: but slight sins require to be washed out by a secret penance, wherefore the damsel lying in the house is raised up before few witnesses, and those are desired to tell no man.
The crowd also is cast out before the damsel is raised; for if a crowd of worldly thoughts be not first cast out from the hidden parts of the heart, the soul, which lies dead within, cannot rise.
Well too did she arise and walk, for the soul, raised from sin, ought not only to rise from the filth of its crimes, but also to make advances in good works, and soon it is necessary that it should be filled with heavenly bread, that is, made partaker of the Divine Word, and of the Altar.
drb › Mark › 5 › Verse 35 through 43
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 11:1-10
Chrys.: Now that the Lord had given sufficient proof of His virtue, and the cross was at hand, even at the door, He did those things which were about to excite them against Him with a greater openness; therefore although He had so often gone up to Jerusalem, He never however had done so in such a conspicuous manner as now.
Theophylact: That thus, if they were willing, they might recognize His glory, and by the prophecies, which were fulfilled concerning Him, know that He is very God; and that if they would not, they might receive a greater judgment, for not having believed so many wonderful miracles. Describing therefore this illustrious entrance, the Evangelist say, “And when they came nigh unto Jerusalem, and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of His disciples.”
Bede, in Marc., 3, 41: Bethany is a little village or town by the side of mount Olivet, where Lazarus was raised from the dead. But in what way He sent His disciples and for what purpose is shewn in these words, “And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you.”
Theophylact: Now consider how many things the Lord foretold to His disciples, that they should find a colt; wherefore it goes on, “And as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat, loose him, and bring him;” and that they should be impeded in taking it, wherefore there follows, “And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye, The Lord hath need of him;” and that on saying this, they should be allowed to take him; wherefore there follows, “And straightway he will send him hither;” and as the Lord had said, so it was fulfilled. Thus it goes on: “And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without, in a place where two ways meet; and they loose him.”
Augustine, de Con. Evan, ii, 66: Matthew says, an ass and a colt, the rest however do not mention the ass. Where then both may be the case, there is no disagreement, though one Evangelist mentions one thing, and a second mentions another; how much less should a question be raised, when one mentions one, and another mentions that same one and another.
It goes on: “And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded, and they let them take it,” that is, the colt.
Theophylact: But they would not have allowed this, if the Divine power had not been upon them, to compel them, especially, as they were country people and farmers, and yet allowed them to take away the colt.
It goes on: “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and He sat upon him.”
Pseudo-Chrys., Cat. in Marc. Oxon.: Not indeed that He was compelled by necessity to ride on a colt from the mount of Olives to Jerusalem, for He had gone over Judaea and all Galilee on foot, but this action of His is typical.
It goes on: “And many spread their garments in the way;” that is, under the feet of the colt; “and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.”
Pseudo-Jerome: This, however, was rather done to honour Him, and as a Sacrament, than of necessity.
It goes on: “and they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Theophylact: For the multitude, until it was corrupted, knew what was its duty, for which reason each honoured Jesus according to his own strength. Wherefore they praised Him, and took up the hymns of the Levites, saying, Hosanna, which according to some is the same as “save me,” but according to others means a hymn. I however suppose the former to be more probable, for there is in the 117th Psalm, “Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord,” which in the Hebrew is, “Hosanna” [Ps 117:25].
Bede: But “Hosanna” is a Hebrew word, made out of two, one imperfect the other perfect. For “save”, or “preserve”, is in their language, “hosy”; but “anna” is a supplicatory interjection, as in Latin, “heu”, is an exclamation of grief.
Pseudo-Jerome: They cry out Hosanna, that is, save us, that men might be saved by Him who was blessed, and was a conqueror and came in the name of the Lord, that is, of His Father, since the Father is so called because of the Son, and the Son, because of the Father.
Psuedo-Chrys., Cat. in Marc. Oxon.: Thus then they give glory to God, saying, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” They also bless the kingdom of Christ, saying, “Blessed by the kingdom of our father, David, which cometh.”
Theophylact: But they called the kingdom of Christ, that of David, both because Christ was descended from the seed of David, and because David means a man of a strong hand. For whose hand is stronger than the Lord’s, by which so many and so great miracles were wrought.
Pseudo-Chrys., Cat. in Marc. Oxon.: Wherefore also the prophets so often call Christ by the name of David, on account of the descent according to the flesh of Christ from David.
Bede: Now we read in the Gospel of John that He fled into a mountain, lest they should make Him their king. Now, however, when He comes to Jerusalem to suffer, He does not shun those who call Him king, that He might openly teach them that He was King over an empire not temporal and earthly, but everlasting in the heavens, and that the path to this kingdom was through contempt of death.
Observe, also, the agreement of the multitude with the saying of Gabriel, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David;” [Luke 1:32] that is, that He Himself may call by word and deed to a heavenly kingdom the nation to which David once furnished the government of a temporal rule.
Pseudo-Chrys., Cat. in Marc. Oxon.: And further, they give glory to God, when they add, “Hosanna in the highest,” that is, praise and glory be to the God of all, Who is in the highest.
Pseudo-Jerome: Or Hosanna, that is, save “in the highest” as well as in the lowest, that is, that the just be built on the ruin of Angels, and also that both those on the earth and those under the earth should be saved. In a mystical sense, also, the Lord approaches Jerusalem, which is ‘the vision of peace,’ in which happiness remains fixed and unmoved, being, as the Apostle says, the mother of all believers. [Gal 4:26]
Bede: Bethany again means the house of obedience, because by teaching many before His Passion, he made for Himself a house of obedience; and it is said to be placed on the mount of Olives, because He cherishes His Church with the unction of spiritual gifts, and with the light of piety and knowledge. But He sent His disciples to a hold [ed. note: castellum], which was over against them, that is, He appointed doctors to penetrate into the ignorant parts of the whole world, into, as it were, the walls of the hold placed against them.
Pseudo-Jerome: The disciples of Christ are called two by two, and sent two by two, since charity implies more than one, as it is written, “Woe to him that is alone.” [Eccles 4:10] Two persons lead the Israelites out of Egypt: two bring down the bunch of grapes from the Holy Land, that men in authority might ever join together activity and knowledge, and bring forward two commandments from the Two Tables, and be washed from two fountains, and carry the ark of the Lord on two poles, and know the Lord between the two Cherubim, [p 223] and sing to Him with both mind and spirit.
Theophylact: The colt, however, was not necessary to Him, but He sent for it to shew that He would transfer Himself to the Gentiles.
Bede: For the colt of the ass, wanton and unshackled, denotes the people of the nations, on whom no man had yet sat, because no wise doctor had, by teaching them the things of salvation, put upon them the bridle of correction, to oblige them to restrain their tongues from evil, or to compel them into the narrow path of life.
Pseudo-Jerome: But “they found the colt tied by the door without,” because the Gentile people were bound by the chain of their sins before the door of faith, that is, without the Church.
Ambrose, in Luc. 9, 6: Or else, they found it bound before the door, because whosoever is not in Christ is without, in the way; but he who is in Christ, is not without. He has added “in the way,” or “in a place where two ways meet,” where there is no certain possession for any man, not stall, nor food, nor stable; miserable is his service, whose rights are unfixed; for he who has not the one Master, has many. Strangers bind him that they may possess him, Christ looses him in order to keep him, for He knows that gifts are stronger ties than bonds.
Bede: Or else, fitly did the colt stand in a place where two ways meet, because the Gentile people did not hold on in any certain road of life and faith, but followed in its error many doubtful paths of various sects.
Pseudo-Jerome: Or, in a place where two roads meet, that is, in the freedom of will, hesitating between life and death.
Theophylact: Or else, in a place where two roads meet, that is, in this life, but it was loosed by the disciples, through faith and baptism.
Pseudo-Jerome: “But some said, What do ye?” as if they would say, Who can remit sins?
Theophylact: Or else, those who prevent them are the devils, who were weaker than the Apostles.
Bede: Or else, the master of error, who resisted the teachers, when they came to save the Gentiles; but after that the power of the faith of the Lord appeared to believers, the faithful people were freed from the cavils of the adversaries, and were brought to the Lord, whom they bore in their hearts. But by the garments of the Apostles, which they put upon it, we may understand the teaching of virtues, or the interpretation of the Scriptures, or the various doctrines of the Church, by which they clothe the hearts of men, once naked and cold and fit them to become the seats of Christ.
Pseudo-Jerome: Or else, they put upon it their garments, that is, they bring to them the first robe of immortality by the Sacrament of Baptism. “And Jesus sat upon it,” that is, began to reign in them, so that sin should not reign in their wanton flesh, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Again, “many spread their garments in the way,” under the feet of the foal of the ass. What are feet, but those who carry, and the least esteemed, whom the Apostle has set to judge? [1 Cor 6:4] And these too, though they are not the back on which the Lord sat, yet are instructed by John with the soldiers.
Bede: Or else, many strew their garments in the way, because the holy martyrs put off from themselves the garment of their own flesh, and prepare a way for the more simple servants of God with their own blood. Many also strew their garments in the way, because they tame their bodies with abstinence, that they may prepare a way for God to the mount, or may give good examples to those who follow them.
And they cut down branches from the trees, who in the teaching of the truth cull the sentences of the Fathers from their words, and by their lowly preaching scatter them in the path of God, when He comes into the soul of the hearer.
Theophylact: Let us also strew the way of our life with branches which we cut from the trees, that is, imitate the saints, for these are holy trees, from which, he who imitates their virtues cuts down branches.
Pseudo-Jerome: “For the righteous shall flourish as a palm tree,” straitened in their roots, but spreading out wide with flowers and fruits; for they are a good odour unto Christ, and strew the way of the commandments of God with their good report. Those who went before are the prophets, and those who followed are the Apostles.
Bede: And because all the elect, whether those who were able to become such in Judaea, or those who now are such in the Church, believed and now believe on the Mediator between God and man, both those who go before and those who follow cried out Hosanna.
Theophylact: But both those of our deeds which go before and those which follow after must be done to the glory of God; for some in their past life make a good beginning, but their following life does not correspond with their former, neither does it end to the glory of God.
drb › Mark › 11 › Verse 1 through 10
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 11:11-14
Bede: As the time of His Passion approached, the Lord wished to approach to the place of His Passion, in order to intimate that He underwent death of His own accord: wherefore it is said, “And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple.” And by His going to the temple on first entering the city, He shews us beforehand a form of religion, which we are to follow, that if by chance we enter a place, where there is a house of prayer, we should first turn aside to it.
We should also understand from this, that such was the poverty of the Lord, and so far was He from flattering man, that in so large a city, He found no one to be His host, no abiding place, but lived in a small country place with Lazarus and his sisters; for Bethany is a hamlet of the Jews.
Wherefore there follows: “And when He had looked round about upon all things, (that is, to see whether any one would take Him in,) and now the eventide was come, He went out into Bethany with the twelve.”
Nor did He do this once only, but during all the five days, from the time that He came to Jerusalem, to the day of His Passion, He used always to do the same thing; during the day He taught in the temple, but at night, He went out and dwelt in the mount of Olives.
It goes on, “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry.”
Chrys., in Matt. Hom., 87: How is it that He was hungry in the morning, as Matthew says, if it were not that by an economy He permitted it to His flesh?
There follows, “And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing theron.”
Now it is evident that this expresses a conjecture of the disciples, who thought that it was for this reason that Christ came to the fig tree, and that it was cursed, because He found no fruit upon it.
For it goes on: “And when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.”
He therefore curses the fig tree for His disciples’ sake, that they might have faith in Him. For He everywhere distributed blessings, and punished no one, yet at the same time, it was right to give them a proof of His chastising power, that they might learn that He could even cause the persecuting Jews to wither away; He was however unwilling to give this proof on men, wherefore He shewed them on a plant a sign of His power of punishing. This proves that He came to the fig tree principally for this reason, and not on account of His hunger, for who is so silly as to suppose that in the morning He felt so greatly the pains of hunger, or what prevented the Lord from eating before He left Bethany? Nor can it be said that the sight of the figs excited His appetite to hunger, for it was not the season of figs; and if He were hungry, why did He not seek food elsewhere, rather than from a fig-tree which could not yield fruit before its time? What punishment also did a fig tree deserve for not having fruit before its time? From all this then we may infer, that He wished to shew His power, that their minds might not be broken by His Passion.
Theophylact: Wishing to shew His disciples that if He chose He could in a moment exterminate those who were about to crucify Him. In a mystical sense, however, the Lord entered into the temple, but came out of it again, to shew that He left it desolate, and open to the spoiler.
Bede: Farther, He looks round about upon the hearts of all, and when in those who opposed the truth, He found no place to lay His head, He retires to the faithful, and takes up His abode with those who obey Him. For Bethany means, the house of obedience.
Pseudo-Jerome: He went in the morning to the Jews, and visits us in the eventide of the world.
Bede: Just in the same way as He speaks parables, so also His deeds are parables; therefore He comes hungry to seek fruit off the fig tree, and though He knew the time of figs was not yet, He condemns it to perpetual barrenness, that He might shew that the Jewish people could not be saved through the leaves, that is, the words of righteousness which it had, without fruit, that is, good works, but should be cut down and cast into the fire.
Hungering therefore, that is, desiring the salvation of mankind, He saw the fig tree, which is, the Jewish people, having leaves, or, the words of the Law and the Prophets, and He sought upon it the fruit of good works, by teaching them, by rebuking them, by working miracles, and He found it not, and therefore condemned it. Do thou too, unless thou wouldest be condemned by Christ in the judgment, beware of being a barren tree, but rather offer to Christ the fruit of piety which He requires.
Chrys.: We may also say, in another sense, that the Lord sought for fruit on the fig tree before its time, and not finding it, cursed it, because all who fulfil the commandments of the Law, are said to bear fruit in their own time, as, for instance, that commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery;” but he who not only abstains from adultery but remains a virgin, which is a greater thing, excels them in virtue. But the Lord exacts from the perfect not only the observance of virtue, but also that they bear fruit over and above the commandments.
drb › Mark › 11 › Verse 11 through 14
Score: 1.00Commentary for Mark 14:3-9
Bede: The Lord when about to suffer for the whole world, and to redeem all nations with His Blood, dwells in Bethany, that is, in the house of obedience.
Wherefore it is said, “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman.”
Pseudo-Jerome: For the fawn amongst the stags ever comes back to his couch, that is, the Son, obedient to the Father even unto death, seeks for obedience from us.
Bede: He says “of Simon the leper”, not because he remained still a leper at that time, but because having once been such, he was healed by Our Saviour; his former name is left, that the virtue of the Healer may be made manifest.
Theophylact: But although the four Evangelists record the anointing by a woman, there were two women and not one; one described by John, the sister of Lazarus; it was she who six days before the Passover anointed the feet of Jesus; another described by the other three Evangelists. Nay, if you examine, you will find three; for one is described by John, another by Luke, a third by the other two. For that one described by Luke is said to be a sinner and to have come to Jesus during the time of His preaching; but this other described by Matthew and Mark is said to have come at the time of the Passion, nor did she confess that she had been a sinner.
Augustine, de Con. Evan., ii, 79: I however think that nothing else can be meant, but that the sinner who then came to the feet of Jesus was none other than the same Mary who did this twice; once, as Luke relates it, when coming for the first time with humility and tears she merited the remission of her sins. For John also relates this, when he began to speak of the raising of Lazarus before He came to Bethany, saying, “It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” [John 11:2]
But what she again did at Bethany is another act, unrecorded by Luke, but mentioned in the same way by the other three Evangelists. In that therefore Matthew and Mark say that the head of the Lord was anointed by the woman, whilst John says the feet, we must understand that both the head and the feet were anointed by the woman. Unless because Mark has said that she broke the box in order to anoint His head, any one is so fond of cavilling as to deny that, because the box was broken, any could remain to anoint the feet of the Lord. But a man of a more pious spirit will contend that it was not broken so as to pour out the whole, or else that the feet were anointed before it was broken, so that there remained in the unbroken box enough to anoint the head.
Bede: Alabaster is a sort of white marble, veined with various colors which is often hollowed out for boxes of ointment, because it keeps things of that nature most uncorrupt. Nard is an aromatic shrub of a large and thick root, but short, black and brittle; though unctuous, it smells like cypress, and has a sharp taste, and small and dense leaves. Its tops spread themselves out like ears of corn, therefore, its gift being double, perfumers make much of the spikes and the leaves of the nard. And this is what is meant by Mark, when he says “spikenard very precious”, that is, the ointment which Mary brought for the Lord was not made of the root of nard, but even, what made it more precious, by the addition of the spikes and the leaves, the gratefulness of its smell and virtue was augmented.
Theophylact, Matthew 26:2 : Or as is said in Greek, of pistic nard, that is, faithful, because the ointment of the nard was made faithfully and without counterfeit.
Augustine, de Con. Evan. ii, 78: It may appear to be a contradiction, that Matthew and Mark after mentioning “two days” and “the Passover”, and afterwards that Jesus was in Bethany, where that precious ointment is mentioned; whilst John, just before he speaks of the anointing, says, that Jesus came into Bethany six days before the feast. [John 12:1] But those persons who are troubled by this, are not aware that Matthew and Mark do not place that anointing in Bethany immediately after that two days of which he foretold, but by way of recapitulation at the time when there were yet six days to the Passover.
Pseudo-Jerome: Again in a mystic sense, Simon the leper means the world, first infidel, and afterwards converted, and the woman with the alabaster box, means the faith of The Church, who says, My spikenard sendeth forth its smell. It is called pistic nard, that is, faithful and precious. The house filled with the smell of it is heaven and earth; the broken alabaster box is carnal desire, which is broken at the Head, from which the whole body is framed together, whilst He was reclining, that is, humbling Himself, that the faith of the sinner might be able to reach Him, for she went up from the feet to the head, and down from the head to the feet by faith, that is, to Christ and to His members.
It goes on: “And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this loss of the ointment?”
By the figure synecdoche, one is put for many, and many for one; for it is the lost Judas who finds loss in salvation; thus in the fruitful vine rises the snare of death. Under the cover of his avarice, however, the mystery of faith speaks; for our faith is bought for three hundred pence, in our ten senses (denarii, i.e. ten senses), that is, our inward and outward senses which are again trebled by our body, soul and spirit.
Bede: and in that he says, “And they murmured against her,” we must not understand this to be spoken of the faithful Apostles, but rather of Judas mentioned in the plural.
Theophylact: Or else, it appears to be aptly implied that many disciples murmured against the woman, because they had often heard our Lord talking of alms. Judas, however, was indignant, but not with the same feeling, but on account of his love of money, and filthy gain; wherefore John also records him alone, as accusing the woman with a fraudulent intent. But he says, “They murmured against her,” meaning that they troubled her with reproaches, and hard words. Then Our Lord reproves His disciples, for throwing obstacles against the wish of the woman.
Wherefore it goes on: “And Jesus said, Let her alone, why trouble ye her?” For after she had brought her gift, they wished to prevent her purpose by their reproaches.
Origen, on Matthew, 35: For they were grieved at the waste of the ointment, which might be sold for a large sum and given to the poor. This however ought not to have been, for it was right that it should be poured over the head of Christ, with a holy and fitting stream; wherefore it goes on, “She hath wrought a good work on me.”
And so effectual is the praise of this good work, that it ought to excite all of us to fill the head of the Lord with sweet-smelling and rich offerings, that of us it may be said that we have done a good work over the head of the Lord. For we always have with us, as long as we remain in this life, the poor who have need of the care of those who have made progress in the word, and are enriched in the wisdom of God; they are not however able always day and night to have with them the Son of God, that is, the Word and Wisdom of God.
For it goes on: “For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good; but me ye have not always.
Bede: To me, indeed, He seems to speak of His bodily presence, that He should by no means be with them after His Resurrection, as He then was living with them in all familiarity.
Pseudo-Jerome: He says also, “She hath wrought a good work on me,” for whosoever believes on the Lord, it is counted unto Him for righteousness. For it is one thing to believe Him, and to believe on Him, that is, to cast ourselves entirely upon Him.
It goes on: “She hath done what she could, she is come aforehand to anoint My Body to the burying.”
Bede: As if the Lord said, What ye think is a waste of ointment is the service of my burial.
Theophylact: For “She is come aforehand” as though led by God “to anoint my body”, as a sign of my approaching burial; by which He confounds the traitor, as if He said, With what conscience canst thou confound the woman, who anoints my body to the burial, and dost not [p. 279] confound thyself, who wilt deliver me to death? But the Lord makes a double prophecy; one that the Gospel shall be preached over the whole world, another that the dead of the woman shall be praised.
Wherefore it goes on: “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”
Bede: Observe, also, that as Mary won glory throughout the whole world for the service which she rendered to the Lord, so, on the contrary, he who was bold enough to reprove her service, is held in infamy far and wide; but the Lord in rewarding the good the due praise has passed over in silence the future shame of the impious.
drb › Mark › 14 › Verse 3 through 9
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 6:24-26
CYRIL; Having said before that poverty for God’s sake is the cause of every good thing, and that hunger and weeping will not be without the reward of the saints, he goes on to denounce the opposite to these as the source of condemnation and punishment. But woe to you rich, for you have your consolation. CHRYS. For this expression, woe, is always said in the Scriptures to those who cannot escape from future punishment. AMBROSE; But although in the abundance of wealth many are the allurements to crime, yet many also are the incitements to virtue. Although virtue requires no support, and the offering of the poor man is more commendable than the liberality of the rich, still it is not those who possess riches, but those who know not how to use them, that are condemned by the authority of the heavenly sentence. For as that poor man is more praiseworthy who gives without grudging, so is the rich man more guilty, who ought to return thanks for what he has received, and not to hide without using it the sum which was given him for the common good. It is not therefore the money, but the heart of the possessor which is in fault. And though there be no heavier punishment than to be preserving with anxious fear what is to serve for the advantage of successors, yet since the covetous desires are fed by a certain pleasure of amassing, they who have had their consolation in the present life, have lost an eternal reward. We may here however understand by the rich man the Jewish people, or the heretics, or at least the Pharisees, who, rejoicing in an abundance of words, and a kind of hereditary pride of eloquence, have overstepped the simplicity of true faith, and gained to themselves useless treasures.
BEDE; Woe to you that are full, for you shall be hungry. That rich man clothed in purple was full, feasting sumptuously every day, but endured in hunger that dreadful “woe,” when from the finger of Lazarus, whom he had despised, he begged a drop of water. BASIL; Now it is plain that the rule of abstinence is necessary, because the Apostle mentions it among the fruits of the Spirit. For the subjection of the body is by nothing so obtained as by abstinence, whereby, as it were a bridle, it becomes us to keep in check the fervor of youth. Abstinence then is the putting to death of sin, the extirpation of passions, the beginning of the spiritual life, blunting in itself the sting of temptations. But lest there should be any agreement with the enemies of God, we must accept every thing as the occasion requires, to show, that to the pure all things are pure, by coming indeed to the necessaries of life, but abstaining altogether from those which conduce to pleasure. But since it is not possible that all should keep the same hours, or the same manner, or the same proportion, still let there be one purpose, never to wait to be filled, for fullness of stomach makes the body itself also unfit for its proper functions, sleepy, and inclined to what is hurtful. BEDE; In another way. If those are happy who always hunger after the works of righteousness, they on the other hand are counted to be unhappy, who, pleasing themselves in their own desires, suffer no hunger after the true good. It follows, Woe to you who laugh, &c. BASIL; Whereas the Lord reproves those who laugh now, it is plain that there will never be a house of laughter to the faithful, especially since there is so great a multitude of those who die in sin for whom we must mourn. Excessive laughter is a sign of want of moderation, and the motion of an unrestrained spirit; but ever to express the feelings of our heart with a pleasantness of countenance is not unseemly. CHRYS. But tell me, why are you distracting and wasting yourself away with pleasures, who must stand before the awful judgment, and give account of all things done here? BEDE; But because flattery being the very nurse of sin, like oil to the flames, is wont to minister fuel to those who are on fire with sin, he adds, Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you. CHRYS. What is said here is not opposed to what our Lord says elsewhere, Let your light shine before men; that is, that we should be eager to do good for the glory of God, not our own. For vain-glory is a baneful thing, and from hence springs iniquity, and despair, and avarice, the mother of evil. But if you seek to turn away from this, ever raise your eyes to God, and be content with that glory which is from Him. For if in all things we must choose the more learned for judges, how do you trust to the many the decision of virtue, and not rather to Him, who before all others know it, and can give and reward it, whose glory therefore if you desire, avoid the praise of men. For no one more excites our admiration than he who rejects glory. And if we do this, much more does the God of all. Be mindful then, that the glory of men quickly fails, seeing in the course of time it is past into oblivion. It follows, For so did their fathers to the false prophets. BEDE; By the false prophets are meant those, who to gain the favor of the multitude attempt to predict future events. The Lord on the mountain pronounces only the blessings of the good, but on the plain he describes also the “woe” of the wicked, because the yet uninstructed hearers must first be brought by terrors to good works, but the perfect need but be invited by rewards. AMBROSE; And mark, that Matthew by rewards called the people to virtue and faith, but Luke also frightened them from their sins and iniquities by the denunciation of future punishment.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 7:11-17
CYRIL; The Lord joins one miracle upon another. In the former instance He came indeed when called for, but in this He came self-invited; as it is said, And it came to pass the day after that he went into a city called Nain. BEDE; Nain is a city of Galilee, within two miles of mount Tabor. But by the divine counsel there were large multitudes accompanying the Lord, that there might be many witnesses of so great a miracle. Hence it follows, And his disciples went with him, and much people. GREG NYSS. Now the proof of the resurrection we learn not so much from the words as from the works of our Savior, who, beginning His miracles with the less wonderful, reconciled our faith to far greater. First indeed in the grievous sickness of the centurion’s servant, He verged upon the power of resurrection; afterwards with a higher power he led men to the belief in a resurrection, when He raised the widow’s son, who was carried out to be buried; as it is said, Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother. TITUS BOST. But some one will say of the centurion’s servant, that he was not going to die. That such an one might restrain his rash tongue, the Evangelist explains that the young man whom Christ came upon was already dead, the only son of a widow. For it follows, And she was a widow, and much people of the city was with her. GREG NYSS. He has told us the sum of misery in a few words. The mother was a widow, and had no further hope of baring children, she had no one upon whom she might look in the place of him that was dead. To him alone she had given suck, he alone made her home cheerful. All that is sweet and precious to a mother, was he alone to her. CYRIL; These were sufferings to excite compassion, and which might well affect to mourning and tears, as it follows, And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, saying, Weep not. BEDE; As if He said, Cease to weep for one as dead, whom you shall soon see rise again alive. CHRYS. But when He bids us cease from weeping Who consoles the sorrowful, He tells us to receive consolation from those who are now dead, hoping for their resurrection. But life meeting death stops the bier, as it follows, And he came. CYRIL; He performs the miracle not only in word, but also touches the bier, to the end that you might know that the sacred body of Christ is powerful to the saving of man. For it is the body of Life and the flesh of the Omnipotent Word, whose power it possesses. For as iron applied to fire does the work of fire, so the flesh, when it is united to the Word, which quickens all things, becomes itself also quickening, and the banisher of death. TITUS BOST. But the Savior is not like to Elias mourning over the son of the widow of Sarepta, nor as Elisha who laid his own body upon the body of the dead, nor as Peter who prayed for Tabitha, but is none other than He who calls those things which be not, as though they were, who can speak to the dead as to the living, as it follows, And he said, Young man. GREG. NYSS. When He said, Young man, He signified that he was in the flower of his age, just ripening into manhood, who but a little while before was the sight of his mothers eyes, just entering upon the time of marriage, the scion of her race, the branch of succession, the staff of her old age.
TITUS BOST. But straightway he arose to whom the command was made. For the Divine power is irresistible; there is no delay, no urgency of prayer, as it follows, And he that was dead sat up and began to speak, and he gave him to his mother. These are the signs of a true resurrection, for the lifeless body cannot speak, nor would the mother have carried back to her house her dead and lifeless son. BEDE; But well does the Evangelist testify that the Lord is first moved with compassion for the mother, and then raises her son, that in the one case He might set before us for our imitation an example of piety, in the other He might build up our belief in His wonderful power. Hence it follows, And there came a fear upon all, and they glorified God, &c. CYRIL; This was a great thing in an insensible and ungrateful people. For in a short time afterward they would neither esteem Him as a prophet, nor allow that He did aught for the public good. But none of those that dwelt in Judea were ignorant of this miracle, as it follows, And this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judea.
MAXIM. But it is worthy of remark, that seven resurrections are related before our Lord’s, of which the first was that of the son of the widow of Sarepta, the second of the Shunamite’s son, the third which was caused by the remains of Elisha, the fourth which took place at Nain, as is here related, the fifth of the ruler of the Synagogue’s daughter, the sixth of Lazarus, the seventh at Christ’s passion, for many bodies of the saints arose. The eighth is that of Christ, who being free from death remained beyond for a sign that the general resurrection which is to come in the eighth age shall not be dissolved by death, but shall abide never to pass away.
BEDE; But the dead man who was carried without the gate of the city in the sight of many’ signifies a man rendered senseless by the deadening power of mortal sin, and no longer concealing his soul’s death within the folds of his heart, but proclaiming it to the knowledge of the world, through the evidence of words or deeds as through the gate of the city. For the gate of the city, I suppose, is some one of the bodily senses. And he is well said to be the only son of his mother, for there is one mother composed of many individuals, the Church, but every soul that remembers that it is redeemed by the death of the Lord, knows the Church to be a widow. AMBROSE; For this widow surrounded by a great multitude of people seems to be more than the woman who was thought worthy by her tears to obtain the resurrection of her only son, because the Church recalls the younger people from the funeral procession to life by the contemplation of her tears, who is forbid to weep for him to whom resurrection was promised. BEDE; Or the dogma of Novatus is crushed who ho endeavoring to do away with the purifying of the penitent, denies that the mother Church, weeping for tile spiritual extinction of her sons, ought to be consoled by tile hope of their restoration to life.
AMBROSE; This dead man was borne on the bier by the four material elements to the grave, but there was a hope of his rising again because he was borne on wood, which though before it did not benefit us, yet after Christ had touched it, began to profit to life, that it might be a sign that salvation was to be extended to the people by the wood of the cross. For we lie lifeless on the bier when either the fire of immoderate desire bursts forth, or the cold moisture breaks out, and through the sluggish state of our earthly body the vigor of our minds waxes dull. BEDE; Or the coffin on which the dead is carried is the ill at ease conscience of a desperate sinner. But they who carry him to be buried are either unclean desires, or the allurements of companions, who stood when our Lord touched the bier, because the conscience, when touched by dread of the judgment from on high, often checking its carnal lusts, and those who unjustly praise, returns to itself, and answers its Savior’s call to life. AMBROSE; If then your sin is so heavy that by your penitential tears you can not yourself wash it out, let the mother Church weep for you, the multitude standing by; soon shall you rise from the dead and begin to spear; the words of life; they all shall fear, (for by the example of one all are corrected;) they shall also praise God who has given us such great remedies for escaping death. BEDE; But God has visited His people not only by the one incarnation of His Word, but by ever sending It into our hearts. THEOPHYL. By the widow also you may understand a soul that has lost her husband in the divine word. Her son is the understanding, which is carried out beyond the city of the living. Its coffin is the body, which some indeed have called the tomb. But the Lord touching him raises him up, causing him to become young, and rising from sin he begins to speak and teach others. For before he would not have been believed.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 7:36-50
BEDE; Having said just before, And the people that heard him justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John the same Evangelist builds up in deed what he had proposed in word, namely, wisdom justified by the righteous and the penitent, saying, And one of the Pharisees desired him, &c. GREG. NYSS. This account is full of precious instruction. For there are very many who justify themselves, being puffed up with the dreamings of an idle fancy, who before the time of Judgment comes, separate themselves as lambs from the herds, not willing even to join in eating with the many, and hardly with those who go not to extremes, but keep the middle path in life. St. Luke, the physician of souls rather than of bodies, represents therefore our Lord and Savior most mercifully visiting others, as it follows, And he went into the Pharisees’ house, and sat down to meat. Not that He should share any of his faults, but might impart somewhat of His own righteousness.
CYRIL; A woman of corrupt life, but testifying her faithful affection, comes to Christ, as having power to release her from every fault, and to grant her pardon for the crimes she had committed. For it follows, And behold a woman in the city which was a sinner brought an alabaster box of ointment. BEDE; Alabaster is a kind of white marble tinged with various colors, which is generally used for vessels holding ointment, because it is said to be the best sort for preserving the ointment sweet. GREG. For this woman, beholding the spots of her shame, ran to wash them at the fountain of mercy, and blushed not at seeing the guests, for since she was courageously ashamed of herself within, she thought there was nothing which could shame her from without. Observe with what sorrow she is wrung who is not ashamed to weep even in the midst of a feast! GREG. NYSS. But to mark her own unworthiness, she stands behind with downcast eyes, and with her hair thrown about embraces His feet, and washing them with her tears, betokened a mind distressed at her state, and imploring pardon. For it follows, And standing behind, she began to wash his feet with her tears. GREG. For her eyes which once coveted after earthly things, she was now wearing out with penitential weeping. She once displayed her hair for the setting off of her face, she now wiped her tears with her hair. As it follows, And she wiped them with the hairs of her head. She once uttered proud things with her mouth, but kissing the feet of the Lord, she impressed her lips on the footsteps of her Redeemer. She once used ointment for the perfume of her body; what she had unworthily applied to herself, she now laudably offered to God. As it follows, And she anointed with ointment. As many enjoyments as she had in herself, so many offerings did she devise out of herself. She converts the number of her faults into the same number of virtues, that as much of her might wholly serve God in her penitence, as had despised God in her sin. CHRYS. Thus the harlot became then more honorable than the virgins. For no sooner was she inflamed with penitence, than she burst forth in love for Christ. And these things indeed which have been spoken of were done outwardly, but those which her mind pondered within itself, were much more fervent. God alone beheld them.
GREG. But the Pharisee beholding these things despises them, and finds fault, not only with the woman who was a sinner, but with the Lord who received her, as it follows, Now when the Pharisee who had bidden him saw it, he spoke within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is which touches him. We see the Pharisee really proud in himself, and hypocritically righteous, blaming the sick woman for her sickness, the physician for his aid. The woman surely if she had come to the feet of the Pharisee would have departed with the heel lifted up against her. For he would have thought that he was polluted by another’s sin, not having sufficient of his own real righteousness to fill him. So also some gifted with the priests’ office, if perchance they have done any just thing outwardly or slightly, forthwith despise those who are put under them, and look with disdain on sinners who are of the people. But when we behold sinners, we must first bewail ourselves for their calamity, since we perhaps have had and are certainly liable to a similar fall. But it is necessary that we should carefully distinguish, for we are bound to make distinction in vices, but to have compassion on nature. For if we must punish the sinner, we must cherish a brother. But when by penance he has himself punished his own deed, our brother is no more a sinner, for he punished in himself what Divine justice condemned. The Physician was between two sick persons, but the one preserved her faculties in the fever, the other lost his mental perception. For she wept at what she had done; but the Pharisee, elated with a false sense of righteousness, overrated the vigor of his own health.
TITUS BOST. But the Lord not hearing his words, but perceiving his thoughts, showed Himself to be the Lord of Prophets, as it follows, And Jesus answering said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. GLOSS. And this indeed He spoke in answer to his thoughts; and the Pharisee was made more attentive by these words of our Lord, as it is said, And he said, Master, say on. GREG. A parable concerning two debtors is opposed to him, of whom the one owed more, the other less; as it follows, There was a certain creditor which had two debtors , &c. TITUS. BOST. As if He said, Nor are you without debts. What then! If you are involved in fewer debts, boast not thyself, for you art still in need of pardon. Then He goes on to speak of pardon, And when they had nothing to pay, he freely forgave them both. GLOSS. For no one can of himself escape the debt of sin, but only by obtaining pardon through the grace of God. GREG. But both debtors being forgiven, the Pharisee is asked which most loved the forgiver of the debts. For it follows, Who then will love him most? To which he at once answers, I suppose, that be to whom he forgave most. And here we must remark, that while the Pharisee is convicted upon his own grounds, the madman carries the rope by which he will be bound; as it follows, But he said to him, you have rightly judged. The good deeds of the sinful woman are enumerated to him, and the evils of the pretended righteous; as it follows, And he turned to the woman, and said to Simon, See you this woman? I entered into your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears. TITUS BOST. As if He said, To provide water is easy, to pour forth tears is not easy. You have not provided even what was at hand, she has poured forth what was not at hand; for washing my feet with her tears, she washed away her own stains. She wiped them with her hair, that so she might draw to herself the sacred moisture, and by that by which she once enticed youth to sin, might now attract to herself holiness.
CHRYS. But as after the breaking of a violent storm there comes a calm,, so when tears have burst forth, there is peace, and gloomy thoughts vanish; and as by water and the Spirit, so by tears and confession we are again made clean. Hence it follows, Wherefore I say to you, Her sins which are many are forgiven, for she loves much. For those who have violently plunged into evil, will in time also eagerly follow after good, being conscious to what debts they have made themselves responsible. GREG. The more then the heart of the sinner is burnt up by the great fire of charity, so much the more is the rust of sin consumed. TITUS BOST. But it more frequently happens that he who has sinned much is purified by confession, but he who has sinned little, refuses from pride to come to be healed thereby. Hence it follows, But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. CHRYS. We have need then of a fervent spirit, for nothing hinders a man from becoming great. Let then no sinner despair, no virtuous man fall asleep; neither let the one be self-confident, for often the harlot shall go before him, nor the other distrustful, for he may even surpass the foremost. Hence it is also here added, But he said to her, Your sins are forgiven you.
GREG. Behold she who had come sick to the Physician was healed, but because of her safety others are still sick; for it follows, And they that sat at meat began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgives sins also. But the heavenly Physician regards not those sick, whom He sees to be made still worse by His remedy, but her whom He had healed He encourages by making mention of her own piety; as it follows, But he said to the woman, Your faith has made you whole; for in truth she doubted not that she would receive what she sought for. THEOPHYL. But after having forgiven her sins, He stops not at the forgiveness of sins, but adds good works, as it follows, Go in peace, i.e. in righteousness, for righteousness is the reconciliation of man to God, as sin is the enmity between God and man; as if He said, Do all things which lead you to the peace of God. AMBROSE; Now in this place many seem to be perplexed with the question, whether the Evangelists do not appear to have differed concerning the faith. GREEK EX. For since the four Evangelists relate that Christ was anointed with ointment by a woman, I think that there were three women, differing according to the quality of each, their mode of action, and the difference of times. John, for example, relates that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, six days before the Passover, anointed the feet of Jesus in her own house; but Matthew, after that the Lord had said, You know that after two days will be the Passover, adds, that in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper, a woman poured ointment upon the head of our Lord, but did not anoint His feet as Mary. Mark also says the same as Matthew; but Luke gives the account not near the time of the Passover, but in the middle of the Gospel. Chrysostom explains it that there were two different women, one indeed who is described in John, another who is mentioned by the three.
AMBROSE; Matthew has introduced this woman as pouring ointment upon the head of Christ, and was therefore unwilling to call her a sinner, for the sinner, according to Luke, poured ointment upon the feet of Christ. She cannot then be the same, lest the Evangelists should seem to be at variance with one another. The difficulty may be also solved by the difference of merit and of time, so that the former woman may have been yet a sinner, the latter now more perfect. AUG. For I think we must understand that the same Mary did this twice, once indeed as Luke has related, when at first coming with humility and weeping, she was thought worthy to receive forgiveness of sins. Hence John, when he began to speak of the resurrection of Lazarus, before he came to Bethany, says, But it was Mary who anointed our Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Mary therefore had already done this; but what she again did in Bethany is another occurrence, which belongs not to the relation of Luke, but is equally told by the other three.
GREG. Now in a mystical sense the Pharisee, presuming upon his pretended righteousness, is the Jewish people; the woman who was a sinner, but who came and wept at our Lord’s feet, represents the conversion of the Gentiles.
AMBROSE; Or, the leper, is the prince of this world; the house of Simon the leper, is the earth. The Lord therefore descended from the higher parts to this earth; for this woman could not have been healed, who bears the figure of a soul or the Church, had not Christ come upon earth. But rightly does she receive the figure of a sinner, for Christ also took the form of a sinner. If then you make your soul approach in faith to God, it not with foul and shameful sins, but piously obeying the word of God, and in the confidence of unspotted purity, ascends to the very head of Christ. But the head of Christ is God. But let him who holds not the head of Christ, hold the feet, the sinner at the feet, the just at the head; nevertheless she also who sinned, has ointment. GREG. What else is expressed by the ointment, but the sweet savor of a good report? If then we do good works by which we may sprinkle the Church with the sweet odor of a good report, what else do we but pour ointment upon the body of our Lord. But the woman stood by His feet, for we stood over against the feet of the Lord, when yet in our sins we resisted His ways. But if we are converted from our sins to true repentance, we now again stand by His feet, for we follow His footsteps whom we before opposed. AMBROSE; Bring you also repentance after sin. Wherever you hear the name of Christ, speed thither; into whatever house you know that Jesus has entered, thither hasten; when you find wisdom, when you find justice sitting in any inner chamber, run to its feet, that is, seek even the lowest part of wisdom; confess your sins with tears. Perhaps Christ washed not His own feet, that we might wash them with our tears. Blessed tears, which can not only wash away our own sin, but also water the footsteps of the heavenly Word, that His goings may abound in us. Blessed tears, in which there is not only the redemption of sinners, but the refreshing of the righteous. GREG. For we water the feet of our Lord with tears if we are moved with compassion to any even the lowest members of our Lord. We wipe our Lord’s feet with our hair, when we show pity to His saints (with whom we suffer in love) by the sacrifice of those things with which we abound. AMBROSE; Throw about your hair, scatter before Him all the graces of your body. The hair is not to be despised which can wash the feet of Christ. GREG. The woman kisses the feet which she has wiped. This also we fully do when we ardently love those whom we maintain by our bounty. By the feet also may be understood tile mystery itself of the Incarnation. We then kiss the feet of the Redeemer when we love with our whole heart the mystery of the Incarnation. We anoint the feet with ointment, when we proclaim the power of His humanity with the good tidings of holy eloquence. But this also the Pharisee sees and grudges, for when the Jewish people perceives that the Gentiles preach God, it consumes away by its own malice. But the Pharisee is thus repulsed, that as it were through Him that false people might be made manifest, for in truth that unbelieving people never offered to the Lord even those things which were without them; but the Gentiles being converted, poured forth not only their substance but their blood. Hence He says to the Pharisee, You gave me no water for my feet, but she has washed my feet with her tears; for water is without us, the moisture of tears is within us. That unfaithful people also gave no kiss to the Lord, for it was unwilling to embrace Him from love whom it obeyed from fear, (for the kiss is the sign of love,) but the Gentiles being called cease not to kiss the feet of their Redeemer, for they ever breathe in His love. AMBROSE; But she is of no slight merit of whom it is said, From the time that she entered has not ceased to kiss my feet, so that sue knew not to speak aught but wisdom, to love aught but Justice, to touch aught but chastity, to kiss aught but modesty. GREG. But it is said to the Pharisee, My head with oil you did not anoint, for the very power even of Divinity on which the Jewish people professed to believe, he neglects to celebrate with due praise. But she has anointed my feet with ointment. For while the Gentile people believed the mystery of His incarnation, it proclaimed also His lowest powers with the highest praise.
AMBROSE; Blessed is he even who can anoint with oil the feet of Christ, but more blessed is he who anoints with ointment, for the essence of many flowers blended into one, scatters the sweets of various odors. And perhaps no other than the Church alone can bring that ointment which has innumerable flowers of different perfumes, and therefore no one can love so much as she who loves in many individuals. But in the Pharisee’s house, that is, in the house of the Law and the Prophets, not the Pharisee, but the Church is justified. For the Pharisee believed not, the Church believed. The Law has no mystery by which secret faults are cleansed, and therefore that which is wanting in the Law is made up in the Gospel. But the two debtors are the two nations who are responsible for payment to the usurer of the heavenly treasury. But we do not owe to this usurer material money, but the balance of our good deeds, the coin of our virtues, the merits of which are estimated by the weight of sorrow, the stamp of righteousness, the sound of confession. But that denarius is of no slight value on which the image of the king is found. Woe to me if I shall not have what I received. Or because there is hardly any one who can pay the whole debt to the usurer, woe to me if I shall not seek the debt to be forgiven me. But what nation is it that owes most, if not we to whom most is lent? To them were entrusted the oracles of God, to us is entrusted the Virgin’s offspring, Immanuel, i. e. God with us, the cross of our Lord, His death, His resurrection. It cannot then be doubted that he owes most who receives most. Among men he perhaps offends most who is most in debt. By the mercy of the Lord the case is reversed, so that he loves most who owes most, if so be that he obtains grace. And therefore since there is nothing which we can worthily return to the Lord, woe be to me also if I shall not have loved. Let us then offer our love for the debt, for he loves most to whom most is given.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 8:49-56
CHRYS. Our Lord conveniently waited until the death of the girl, that the miracle of her resurrection might be made public. For which reason also He goes slower, and speaks longer with the woman, that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue may expire, and messengers come to tell Him As it is said, While he yet spoke, there comes one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Your daughter is dead. AUG. But since Matthew states the ruler of the synagogue to have told our Lord that his daughter was not on the point of death but quite dead, and Luke and Mark say, that she was not yet dead, nay, even go so far as to say that there came some afterwards, who told her death; we must examine, lest they should seem to be at variance. And we must understand that for the sake of brevity, Matthew chose rather to say, that our Lord was asked to do what it is obvious He did, namely, to raise the dead. For our Lord needs not the words of the father concerning his daughter, but what is more important, his wishes. Certainly, if the other two or any one of them had mentioned that the father had said what those who came from the house said, that Jesus need not be troubled because the maid was dead, His words which Matthew has related would seem to be at variance with his thoughts. But now to those who brought that message, and said that the Master need not come, it is not said that the father assented. The Lord therefore did not blame him as distrustful, but the more strongly confirms his belief. As it follows, But when Jesus heard it, he answered the father of the girl, Believe only, &c. ATHAN. Our Lord requires faith from those who invoke Him, not because He needs the assistance of others, (for He is both the Lord and Giver of faith,) but not to seem to bestow His gifts according to His acceptance of persons, He shows that He favors those who believe, lest they should receive benefits without faith, and lose them by unbelief. For when He bestows a favor, He wishes it to last, and when He heals, the cure to remain undisturbed. THEOPHYL. When He was about to raise the dead He put all out, as teaching us to be free from vain-glory, and to do nothing for show, for when any one ought to perform miracles, he must not be in the midst of a great many, but alone and apart from the other. As it follows, And when be came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John. Now these only He permitted to enter as the Heads of His disciples, and able to conceal the miracle. For He did not wish to be revealed to many before His time, perhaps on account of the envy of the Jews. So also when any one envies us, we ought not to make known to him our righteousness, lest we give him an occasion of greater envy. CHRYS. But He took not with Him His other disciples, so provoking them to a strange desire, because also they were not yet fully prepared, but He took Peter, and with him the sons of Zebedee, that the others also might imitate them. He took also the parents as witnesses, lest any should say the evidence of the resurrection was false. Luke adds to this also, that He shut out from the house those that were weeping, and showed that they were unworthy of a sight of this kind. For it follows, And they all wept, and bewailed her. But if He then shut them out, much more now. For then it had not yet been revealed that death was turned into sleep. Let no one then hereafter despise himself, bringing an insult to the victory of Christ, whereby He has overcome death, and turned it into sleep. In proof of which it is added, But he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleeps, &c. showing that all things were at His command, and that He would bring her to life as if He were awakening her from sleep. They yet nevertheless laughed Him to scorn. For it follows, And they laughed him to scorn. He did not reprove them nor put an end to their laughter, that laughter also might be a sign of death. For since generally, after a miracle has been performed men continue unfaithful, He takes them by their own words. But that He might by sight dispose to the belief of the resurrection, He takes the hand of the maid. As it follows, But he took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And when He had taken her by the hand, He awoke her. As it follows, And her spirit returned, and she arose straightway. For He poured not into her another soul, but restored the same which she had breathed forth. Nor does he only awake the maid, but orders her to take food. For it follows, And he commanded to give her meat. That it might not seem like a vision what was done. Nor did He Himself give to her, but He commanded others to do it. As also He said in the case of Lazarus, Loose him. And afterwards He made him partake of meat with Him.
GREEK EX. He next charges the parents, astonished at the miracle, and almost crying out, not to publish abroad what was done. As it follows, And her parents were astonished; but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done; showing that He is the Giver of good things, but not covetous of glory, and that He gives the whole, receiving nothing. But he who seeks after the glory of his works has indeed shown forth something, but receives something. BEDE; But mystically, when the woman was cured of the issue of blood, word is brought that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue is dead; because while the Church was cleansed from the stain of its sins, the Synagogue was forthwith destroyed by unbelief and envy; by unbelief indeed, in that it refused to believe in Christ; by envy, in that it was grieved that the Church had believed. AMBROSE; But still also were the servants of the ruler incredulous with regard to the resurrection, which Jesus had foretold in the Law, fulfilled in the Gospel; therefore say they, Do not trouble him; as if it were impossible for Him to raise the dead. BEDE; Or this is even to this day said by those who see the state of the synagogue so destitute that they do not believe it can be restored, and therefore think nothing of praying for its resurrection. But those things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Therefore said the Lord to him, Fear not, only believe, and she shall be made whole The father of the girl is taken for the assembly of the doctors of the Law, which if it were willing to believe, the Synagogue also which is subject to it will be safe. AMBROSE; Therefore having entered into the house, He called a few to be judges of the coming resurrection: for the resurrection was not soon believed by the many. What then was as the cause of this great difference? In a former case the widow’s son is raised up before all, here a few only are set apart to judge. But I think that herein the mercy of the Lord is shown, since the widowed mother of an only son suffered no delay. There is also the token of wisdom, that in the widow’s son we should see the Church quick in believing; in the ruler of the synagogue’s daughter, the Jews about indeed to believe, but out of a great many only a few. Lastly, when our Lord says, She is not dead, but sleeps, they laughed Him to scorn. For whoever believes not, laughs. Let them therefore mourn their dead who think they are dead. Where there is a belief of the resurrection, the notion is not of death but of rest. BEDE; The Synagogue also, because it has lost the joy of the Bridegroom, whereby alone it can live, lying dead as it were among those that mourn, understands not even the reason why it weeps.
AMBROSE; Now the Lord taking hold of the hand of the maid, cured her. Blessed is he whom wisdom takes by the hand, that she may bring him into her secret places, and command to be given him to eat. For the bread of heaven is the word of God. Hence comes also that wisdom which has filled its altars with the food of the body and blood of God. Come, she says, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mixed for you. BEDE; Now the maid arose straightway, because when Christ strengthens the hand, man revives from the death of the soul. For there are some, who only by the secret thought of sin are conscious of bringing death to themselves. The Lord signifying that such He brings to life again, raised the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. But others, by committing the very evil in which they delight, carry their dead as it were without the gates, and to show that He raises these, He raised the widow’s son without the gates. But some also, by habits of sin, bury themselves, as it were, and become corrupt; and to raise these also the grace of the Savior is not wanting; to intimate which He raised from the dead Lazarus, who had been four days in the grave. But the deeper the death of the soul, so much the more intense should be the fervor of penitence. Hence He raises with a gentle voice the maid who lay dead in the room, the youth who was carried out He strengthens with many words, but to raise him who had been dead four days, He groaned in His spirit, He poured forth tears, and cried with a loud voice. But here also we must observe, that a public calamity needs a public remedy. Slight offenses seek to be blotted out by secret penitence. The maid lying in the house rises again with few witnesses; the youth without the house is raised in the presence of a great crowd who accompanied him. Lazarus summoned from the tomb was known to many nations.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 16:19-21
BEDE; Our Lord had just before advised the making friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, which the Pharisees derided. He next confirms by examples what he had set before them, saying, There was a certain rich man, &c.
CHRYS. There "was," not "is," because he had passed away as a fleeting shadow. AMBROSE; But not all poverty is holy, or all riches criminal, but as luxury disgraces riches, so does holiness commend poverty.
It follows, And he was clothed in purple and fine linen. BEDE; Purple, the color of the royal robe, is obtained from sea shells, which are scraped with a knife. Byssus is a kind of white and very fine linen. GREG. Now if the wearing of fine and precious robes were not a fault, word of God would never have so carefully expressed this. For no one seeks costly garments except for vainglory, that he may seem more honorable than others; for no one wishes to be clothed with such, where he cannot be seen by others. CHRYS. Ashes, dust, and earth he covered with purple, and silk; or ashes, dust, and earth bore upon them purple and silk. As his garments were, so was also his food. Therefore with us also as our food is, such let our clothing be Hence it follows, And he fared sumptuously everyday. GREG. And here we must narrowly watch ourselves, seeing that banquets can scarcely be celebrated blamelessly, for almost always luxury accompanies feasting; and when the body is swallowed up in the delight of refreshing itself, the heart relaxes to empty joys.
It follows, And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus. AMBROSE; This seems rather a narrative than a parable, since the name is also expressed. CHRYS. But a parable is that in which an example is given, while the names are omitted. Lazarus is interpreted, “one who was assisted.” For he was poor, and the Lord helped him. CYRIL; Or else; This discourse concerning the rich man and Lazarus was written after the manner of a comparison in a parable, to declare that they who abound in earthly riches, unless they will relieve the necessities of the poor, shall meet with a heavy condemnation. But the tradition of the Jews relates that there was at that time in Jerusalem a certain Lazarus who was afflicted with extreme poverty and sickness, whom our Lord remembering, introduces him into the example for the sake of adding greater point to His words.
GREG. We must observe also, that among the heathen the names of poor men are more likely to be known than of rich. Now our Lord mentions the name of the poor, but not the name of the rich, because God knows and approves the humble, but not the proud. But that the poor man might be more approved, poverty and sickness were at the same time consuming him; as it follows, who was laid at his gate full of sores. PSEUDO-CHRYS. He lay at his gate for this reason, that the rich might not say, I never saw him, no one told me; for he saw him both going out and returning. The poor is full of sores, that so he might set forth in his own body the cruelty of the rich. You see the death of your body lying before the gate, and you pity not. If you regard not the commands of God, at least have compassion on your own state, and fear lest also you become such as he. But sickness has some comfort if it receives help. How great then was the punishment in that body, in which with such wounds he remembered not the pain of his sores, but only his hunger; for it follows, desiring to be fed with the crumbs, &c. As if he said, What you throw away from your table, afford for alms, make your losses gain.
AMBROSE; But the insolence and pride of the wealthy is manifested afterwards by the clearest tokens, for it follows, and no one gave to him. For so unmindful are they of the condition of mankind, that as if placed above nature they derive from the wretchedness of the poor an incitement to their own pleasure, they laugh at the destitute, they mock the needy, and rob those whom they ought to pity. AUG. For the covetousness of the rich is insatiable, it neither fears God nor regards man, spares not a father, keeps not its fealty to a friend, oppresses the widow, attacks the property of a ward.
GREG. Moreover the poor man saw the rich as he went forth surrounded by flatterers, while he himself lay in sickness and want, visited by no one. For that no one came to visit him, the dogs witness, who fearlessly licked his sores, for it follows, moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. PSEUDO-CHRYS. Those sores which no man deigned to wash and dress, the beasts tenderly lick.
GREG. By one thing Almighty God displayed two judgments. He permitted Lazarus to lie before the rich man’s gate, both that the wicked rich man might increase the vengeance of his condemnation, and the poor man by his trials enhance his reward; the one saw daily him on whom he should show mercy, the other that for which he might be approved.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 16:22-26
PSEUDO-CHRYS. We have heard how both fared on earth, let us see what their condition is among the dead. That which was temporal has passed away; that which follows is eternal. Both died; the one angels receive, the other torments; for it is said, And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels, &c. Those great sufferings are suddenly exchanged for bliss. He is carried after all his labors, because he had fainted, or at least that he might not tire by walking; and he was carried by angels. One angel was not sufficient to carry the poor man, but many come, that they may make a joyful band, each angel rejoicing to touch so great a burden. Gladly do they thus encumber themselves, that so they may bring men to the kingdom of heaven But he was carried into Abraham’s bosom, that he might be embraced and cherished by him; Abraham’s bosom is Paradise. And the ministering angels carried the poor man, and placed him in Abraham’s bosom, because though he lay despised, he yet despaired not nor blasphemed, saying, This rich man living in wickedness is happy and suffers no tribulation, but I cannot get even food to supply my wants.
AUG. Now as to your thinking Abraham’s bosom to be any thing bodily, I am afraid lest you should be thought to treat so weighty a matter rather lightly than seriously. For you could never be guilty of such folly, as to suppose the corporeal bosom of one man able to hold so many souls, nay, to use your own words, so many bodies as the Angels carry thither as they did Lazarus. But perhaps you imagine that one soul to have alone deserved to come to that bosom. If you would not fall into a childish mistake, you must understand Abraham’s bosom to be a retired and hidden resting-place where Abraham is; and therefore called Abraham’s, not that it is his alone, but because he is the father of many nations, and placed first, that others might imitate his preeminence of faith.
GREG. When the two men were below on earth, that is, the poor and the rich, there was one above who saw into their hearts, and by trials exercised the poor man to glory, by endurance awaited the rich man to punishment. Hence it follows, The rich man also cried. CHRYS. He died then indeed in body, but his soul was dead before. For he did none of the works of the soul. All that warmth which issues from the love of our neighbor had fled, and he was more dead than his body. But no one is spoken of as having ministered to the rich man’s burial as to that of Lazarus. Because when he lived pleasantly in the broad road, he had many busy flatterers; when he came to his end, all forsook him. For it simply follows, and was buried in hell. But his soul also when living was buried, enshrined in its body as it were in a tomb. AUG. The burial in hell is the lowest depth of torment which after this life devours the proud and unmerciful.
PSEUDO-BASIL. Hell is a certain common place in the interior of the earth, shaded on all sides and dark, in which there is a kind of opening stretching downward, through which lies the descent of the souls who are condemned to perdition. PSEUDO-CHRYS. Or as the prisons of kings are placed at a distance without, so also hell is somewhere far off without the world, and hence it is called the outer darkness.
THEOPHYL. But some say that hell is the passing from the visible to the invisible, and the unfashioning of the soul. For as long as the soul of the sinner is in the body, it is visible by means of its own operations. But when it flies out of the body, it becomes shapeless.
CHRYS. As it made the poor man’s affliction heavier while he lived to lie before the rich man’s gate, and to behold the prosperity of others, so when the rich man was dead it added to his desolation, that he lay in hell and saw the happiness of Lazarus, feeling not only by the nature of His own torments, but also by the comparison of Lazarus’s honor, his own punishment the more intolerable. Hence it follows, But lifting up his eyes. He lifted up his eyes that he might look on him, not despise him; for Lazarus was above, he below. Many angels carried Lazarus; he was seized by endless torments. Therefore it is not said, being in torment, but torments. For he was wholly in torments, his eyes alone were free, so that he might behold the joy of another. His eyes are allowed to be free that he may be the more tortured, not having that which another has. The riches of others are the torments of those who are in poverty.
GREG. Now if Abraham sate below, the rich man placed in torments would not see him. For they who have followed the path to the heavenly country, when they leave the flesh, are kept back by the gates of hell; not that punishment smites them as sinners, but that resting in some more remote places, (for the intercession of the Mediator was not yet come,) the guilt of their first fault prevents them from entering the kingdom.
CHRYS. There were many poor righteous men, but he who lay at his door met his sight to add to his woe. For it follows, And Lazarus in his bosom. It may here be observed, that all who are offended by us are exposed to our view. But the rich man sees Lazarus not with any other righteous man, but in Abraham’s bosom. For Abraham was full of love, but the man is convicted of cruelty. Abraham sitting before his door followed after those that passed by, and brought them into his house, the other turned away even them that abode within his gate. GREG. And this rich man forsooth, now fixed in his doom, seeks as his patron him to whom in this life he would not show mercy. THEOPHYL. He does not however direct his words to Lazarus, but to Abraham, because he was perhaps ashamed, and thought Lazarus would remember his injuries; but he judged of him from himself. Hence it follows, And he cried and said. PSEUDO-CHRYS. Great punishments give forth a great cry. Father Abraham. As if he said, I call you father by nature, as the son who wasted his living, although by my own fault I have lost you as a father. Have mercy on me. In vain you work repentance, when there is no place for repentance; your torments drive you to act the penitent, not the desires of your soul. He who is in the kingdom of heaven, I know not whether he can have compassion on him who is in hell. The Creator pities His creature. There came one Physician who was to heal all; others could not heal. Send Lazarus. You err, wretched man. Abraham cannot send, but he can receive. To dip the tip of his finger in water. You would not deign to look upon Lazarus, and now you desire his finger. What you seek now, you ought to have done to him when alive. You are in want of water, who before despised delicate food. Mark the conscience of the sinner; he durst not ask for the whole of the finger. We are instructed also how good a thing it is not to trust in riches. See the rich man in need of the poor who was before starving. Things are changed, and it is now made known to all who was rich and who was poor. For as in the theaters, when it grows towards evening, and the spectators depart, then going out, and laying aside their dresses, they who seemed kings and generals are seen as they really are, the sons of gardeners and fig-sellers. So also when death is come, and the spectacle is over, and all the masks of poverty and riches are put off, by their works alone are men judged, which are truly rich, which poor, which are worthy of honor, which of dishonor. GREG. For that rich man who would not give to the poor man even the scraps of his table, being in hell came to beg for even the least thing. For he sought for a drop of water, who refused to give a crumb of bread. BASIL; But he receives a meet reward, fire and the torments of hell; the parched tongue; for the tuneful lyre, wailing; for drink, the intense longing for a drop; for curious or wanton spectacles, profound darkness; for busy flattery, the undying worm. Hence it follows, That he may cool my tongue, for I am tormented in the flame. CHRYS. But not because he was rich was he tormented, but because he was not merciful. GREG. We may gather from this, with what torments he will be punished who robs another, if he is smitten with the condemnation to hell, who does not distribute what is his own. AMBROSE; He is tormented also because to the luxurious man it is a punishment to be without his pleasures; water is also a refreshment to the soul which is set fast in sorrow. GREG. But what means it, that when in torments he desires his tongue to be cooled, except that at his feasts having sinned in talking, now by the justice of retribution, his tongue was in fierce flame; for talkativeness is generally rife at the banquet. CHRYS. His tongue too had spoken many proud things. Where the sin is, there is the punishment; and because the tongue offended much, it is the more tormented. CHRYS. Or, in that he wishes his tongue to be cooled, when he was altogether burning in the flame, that is signified which is written, Death and life are in the hands of the tongue, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation; which from pride he did not do, but the tip of the finger means the very least work in which a man is assisted by the Holy Spirit.
AUG. You say that the members of the soul are here described, and by the eye you would have the whole head understood, because he was said to lift up his eyes; by the tongue, the jaws; by the finger, the hand. But what is the reason that those names of members when spoken of God do not to your mind imply a body, but when of the soul they do? It is that when spoken of the creature they are to be taken literally, but when of the Creator metaphorically and figuratively. Will you then give us bodily wings, seeing that not the Creator, but man, that is, the creature, says, If I take not the wings in the morning? Besides, if the rich man had a bodily tongue, because he said, to cool my tongue, in us also who live in the flesh, the tongue itself has bodily hands, for it is written, Death and life are in the hands of the tongue.
GREG NYSS. As the most excellent of mirrors represents an image of the face, just such as the face itself which is opposite to it, a joyful image of that which is joyful, a sorrowful of that which is sorrowful; so also is the just judgment of God adapted to our dispositions. Wherefore the rich man because he pitied not the poor as he lay at his gate, when he needs mercy for himself, is not heard, for it follows, And Abraham said to him, Son, &c. CHRYS. Behold the kindness of the Patriarch; he calls him son, (which may express his tenderness,) Yet gives no aid to him who had deprived himself of cure. Therefore he says, Remember, that is, consider the past, forget not that you delighted in your riches, and you received good things in your life, that is, such as you thought to be good. You could not both have triumphed on earth, and triumph here. Riches can not be true both on earth and below. It follows, And Lazarus likewise evil things; not that Lazarus thought them evil, but he spoke this according to the opinion of the rich man, who thought poverty, and hunger, and severe sickness, evils. When the heaviness of sickness harasses us, let us think of Lazarus, and joyfully accept evil things in this life.
AUG. All this then is said to Him because he chose the happiness of the world, and loved no other life but that in which he proudly boasted; but he says, Lazarus received evil things, because he knew that the perishableness of this life, its labors, sorrows, and sickness, are the penalty of sin, for we all die in Adam who by transgression was made liable to death. CHRYS. He says, You received good things in your life, (as if your due;) as though he said, If you have done any good thing for which a reward might be due, you have received all things in that world, living luxuriously, abounding in riches, enjoying the pleasure of prosperous undertakings; but he if he committed any evil has received all, afflicted with poverty, hunger, and the depths of wretchedness. And each of you came hither naked; Lazarus indeed of sin, wherefore he receives his consolation; you of righteous wherefore you endure your inconsolable punishment; and hence it follows, But now he is comforted, and you are tormented.
GREG. Whatsoever then you have well in this world, when you recollect to have done any thing good, be very fearful about it, lest the prosperity granted you be your recompense for the same good. And when you behold poor men doing any thing blameably, fear not, seeing that perhaps those whom the remains of the slightest iniquity defiles, the fire of honesty cleanses. CHRYS. But you will say, Is there no one who shall enjoy pardon, both here and there? This is indeed a hard thing, and among those which are impossible. For should poverty press not, ambition urges; if sickness provoke not, anger inflames; if temptations assail not, corrupt thoughts often overwhelm. It is no slight toil to bridle anger, to check unlawful desires, to subdue the swellings of vain-glory, to quell pride or haughtiness, to lead a severe life. He that does not these things, can not be saved.
GREG. It may also be answered, that evil men receive in this life good things, because they place their whole joy in transitory happiness, but the righteous may indeed have good things here, yet not receive them for reward, because while they seek better things, that is, eternal, in their judgment whatever good things are present seem by no means good.
CHRYS. But after the mercy of God, we must seek in our own endeavors for hope of salvation, not in numbering fathers, or relations, or friends. For brother does not deliver brother; and therefore it is added, And beside all this between us and you there is a great gulf fixed. THEOPHYL. The great gulf signifies the distance of the righteous from sinners. For as their affections were different, so also their abiding places do not slightly differ. CHRYS. The gulf is said to be fixed, because it cannot be loosened, moved, or shaken.
AMBROSE; Between the rich and the poor then there is a great gulf, because after death rewards cannot be changed. Hence it follows, So that they who would pass from hence to you cannot, nor come thence to us. CHRYS. As if he says, We can see, we cannot pass; and we see what we have escaped, you what you have lost; our joys enhance your torments, your torments our joys. GREG. For as the wicked desire to pass over to the elect, that is, to depart from the pangs of their sufferings, so to the afflicted and tormented would the just pass in their mind by compassion, and wish to set them free. But the souls of the just, although in the goodness of their nature they feel compassion, after being united to the righteousness of their Author, are constrained by such great uprightness as not to be moved with compassion towards the reprobate. Neither then do the unrighteous pass over to the lot of the blessed, because they are bound in everlasting condemnation, nor can the righteous pass to the reprobate, because being now made upright by the righteousness of judgment, they in no way pity them from any compassion. THEOPHYL. You may from this derive an argument against the followers of Origen, who say, that since an end is to be placed to punishments, there will be a time when sinners shall be gathered to the righteous and to God. AUG. For it is shown by the unchangeableness of the Divine sentence, that no aid of mercy can be rendered to men by the righteous, even though they should wish to give it; by which he reminds us, that in this life men should relieve those they can, since hereafter even if they be well received, they would not be able to give help to those they love. For that which was written, that they may receive you into everlasting habitations, was not said of the proud and unmerciful, but of those who have made to themselves friends by their works of mercy, whom the righteous receive, not as if by their own power benefiting them, but by Divine permission.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 16:27-31
GREG. When the rich man in flames found that all hope was taken away from him, his mind turns to those relations whom he had left behind, as it is said, Then said he, I pray you therefore, father Abraham, to send him to my father’s house. AUG. He asks that Lazarus should be sent, because he felt himself unworthy to offer testimony to the truth. And as he had not obtained even to be cooled for a little while, much less does he expect to be set free from hell for the preaching of the truth. CHRYS. Now mark his perverseness; not even in the midst of his torments does he keep to truth. If Abraham is your father, how say you, Send him to your father’s house? But you have not forgotten your father, for he has been your ruin.
GREG. The hearts of the wicked are sometimes by their own punishment taught the exercise of charity, but in vain; so that they indeed have an especial love to their own, who while attached to their sins did not love themselves. Hence it follows, For I have five brethren, that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
AMBROSE; But it is too late for the rich man to begin to be master, when he has no longer time for learning or teaching. GREG. And here we must remark what fearful sufferings are heaped upon the rich man in flames. For in addition to his punishment, his knowledge and memory are preserved. He knew Lazarus whom he despised, he remembered his brethren whom he left. For that sinners in punishment may be still more punished, they both see the glory of those whom they had despised, and are harassed about the punishment of those whom they have unprofitably loved. But to the rich man seeking Lazarus to be sent to them, Abraham immediately answers, as follows, Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.
CHRYS. As if he said, your brethren are not so much your care as God’s, who created them, and appointed them teachers to admonish and urge them. But by Moses and the Prophets, he here means the Mosaic and prophetic writings.
AMBROSE; In this place our Lord most plainly declares the Old Testament to be the ground of faith, thwarting the treachery of the Jews, and precluding the iniquity of Heretics.
GREG. But he who had despised the words of God, supposed that his followers could not hear them. Hence it is added, And he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if one went to them from the dead they would repent. For when he heard the Scriptures he despised them, and thought them fables, and therefore according to what he felt himself, he judged the like of his brethren. GREG NYSS. But we are also taught something besides, that the soul of Lazarus is neither anxious about present things, nor looks back to aught that it has left behind, but the rich man, (as it were caught by birdlime,) even after death is held down by his carnal life. For a man who becomes altogether carnal in his heart, not even after he has put off his body is out of the reach of his passions. GREG. But soon the rich man is answered in the words of truth; for it follows, And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe though one rose from the dead. For they who despise the words of the Law, will find the commands of their Redeemer who rose from the dead, as they are more sublime, so much the more difficult to fulfill.
CHRYS. But that it is true that he who hears not the Scriptures, takes no heed to the dead who rise again, the Jews have testified, who at one time indeed wished to kill Lazarus, but at another laid hands upon the Apostles, notwithstanding that some had risen from the dead at the hour of the Cross. Observe this also, that every dead man is a servant, but whatever the Scriptures say, the Lord says. Therefore let it be that dead men should rise again, and an angel descend from heaven, the Scriptures are more worthy of credit than all. For the Lord of Angels, the Lord as well of the living and the dead, is their author. But if God knew this that the dead rising again, profited the living, He would not have omitted it, seeing that He disposes all things for our advantage. Again, if the dead were often to rise again, this too would in time be disregarded. And the devil also would easily insinuate perverse doctrines, devising resurrection also by means of his own instruments, not indeed really raising up the deceased, but by certain delusions deceiving the sight of the beholders, or contriving, that is, setting up some to pretend death.
AUG. But some one may say, If the dead have no care for the living, how did the rich man ask Abraham, that he should send Lazarus to his five brethren? But because he said this, did the rich man therefore know what his brethren were doing, or what was their condition at that time? His care about the living was such that he might yet be altogether ignorant what they were doing, just as we care about the dead, although we know nothing of what they do. But again the question occurs, How did Abraham know that Moses and the prophets are here in their books? Whence also had he known that the rich man had lived in luxury, but Lazarus in affliction. Not surely when these things were going on in their lifetime, but at their death he might know through Lazarus’ telling him, that in order that might not be false which the prophet says; Abraham heard us not. The dead might also hear something from the angels who are ever present at the things which are done here. They might also know some things which it was necessary for them to have known, not only past, but also future, through the revelation of the Church of God.
AUG. But these things may be so taken in allegory, that by the rich man we understand the proud Jews ignorant of the righteousness of God, and going about to establish their own. The purple and fine linen are the grandeur of the kingdom. And the kingdom of God (he says) shall be taken away from you. The sumptuous feasting is the boasting of the Law, in which they gloried, rather abusing it to swell their pride, than using it as the necessary means of salvation. But the beggar, by name Lazarus, which is interpreted “assisted,” signifies want; as, for instance, some Gentile, or Publican, who is all the more relieved, as he presumes less on the abundance of his resources. GREG. Lazarus then full of sores, figuratively represents the Gentile people, who when turned to God, were not ashamed to confess their sins. Their wound was in the skin. For what is confession of sins but a certain bursting forth of wounds. But Lazarus, full of wounds, desired to be fed by the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table, and no one gave to him; because that proud people disdained to admit any Gentile to the knowledge of the Law, and words flowed down to him from knowledge, as the crumbs fell from the table. AUG. But the dogs which licked the poor man’s sores are those most wicked men who loved sin, who with a large tongue cease not to praise the evil works, which another loathes, groaning in himself, and confessing. GREG. Sometimes also in the holy Word by dogs are understood preachers; according to that, That the tongue of your dogs may be red by the very blood of your enemies; for the tongue of dogs while it licks the wound heals it; for holy teachers, when they instruct us in confession of sin, touch as it were by the tongue the soul’s wound. The rich man was buried in hell, but Lazarus was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom, that is, into that secret rest of which the truth says, Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall lie down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness. But being afar off, the rich man lifted up his eyes to behold Lazarus, because the unbelievers while they suffer the sentence of their condemnation, lying in the deep, fix their eyes upon certain of the faithful, abiding before the day of the last Judgment in rest above them, whose bliss afterwards they would in no wise contemplate. But that which they behold is afar off, for thither they cannot attain by their merits. But he is described to burn chiefly in his tongue, because the unbelieving people held in their mouth the word of the Law, which in their deeds they despised to keep. In that part then a man will have most burning wherein he most of all shows he knew that which he refused to do. Now Abraham calls him his son, whom at the same time he delivers not from torments; because the fathers of this unbelieving people, observing that many have gone aside from their faith, are not moved with any compassion to rescue them from torments, whom nevertheless they recognize as sons. AUG. By the five brothers whom he says he has in his father’s house, he means the Jews who were called five, because they were bound under the Law, which was given by Moses who wrote five books.
CHRYS. Or he had five brothers, that is, the five senses, to which he was before a slave, and therefore he could not love Lazarus because his brethren loved not poverty. Those brethren have sent you into these torments, they cannot be saved unless they die; otherwise it must needs be that the brethren dwell with their brother. But why seek you that I should send Lazarus? They have Moses and the Prophets. Moses was the poor Lazarus who counted the poverty of Christ greater than the riches of Pharaoh. Jeremiah, cast into the dungeon, was fed on the bread of affliction; and all the prophets teach those brethren. But those brethren cannot be saved unless some one rise from the dead. For those brethren, before Christ was risen, brought me to death; He is dead, but those brethren have risen again. For my eye sees Christ, my ear hears Him, my hands handle Him. From what we have said then, we determine the fit place for Marcion and Manichaeus, who destroy the Old Testament. See what Abraham says, If they hear not Moses and the prophets. As though he said, you do well by expecting Him who is to rise again; but in them Christ speaks. If you will hear them, you will hear Him also. GREG. But the Jewish people, because they disdained to spiritually understand the words of Moses, did not come to Him of whom Moses had spoken.
AMBROSE; Or else, Lazarus is poor in this world, but rich to God; for not all poverty is holy, nor all riches vile, but as luxury disgraces riches, so holiness commends poverty. Or is there any Apostolical man, poor in speech, but rich in faith, who keeps the true faith, requiring not the appendage of words. To such a one I liken him who ofttimes beaten by the Jews offered the wounds of his body to be licked as it were by certain dogs. Blessed dogs, to whom the dropping from such wounds so falls as to fill the heart and mouth of those whose office it is to guard the house, preserve the flock, keep off the wolf ! And because the word is bread, our faith is of the word; the crumbs are as it were certain doctrines of the faith, that is to say, the mysteries of the Scriptures. But the Arians, who court the alliance of regal power that they may assail the truth of the Church, do not they seem to you to be in purple and fine linen? And these, when they defend the counterfeit instead of the truth, abound in flowing discourses. Rich heresy has composed many Gospels, and poor faith has kept this single Gospel, which it had received. Rich philosophy has made itself many gods, the poor Church has known only one. Do not those riches seem to you to be poor, and that poverty to be rich? AUG. Again also that story may be so understood, as that we should take Lazarus to mean our Lord; lying at the gate of the rich man, because he condescended to the proud ears of the Jews in the lowliness of His incarnation; desiring to be fed from the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table, that is, seeking from them even the least works of righteousness, which through pride they would not use for their own table, (that is, their own power,) which works, although very slight and without the discipline of perseverance in a good life, sometimes at least they might do by chance, as crumbs frequently fall from the table. The wounds are the sufferings of our Lord, the dogs who licked them are the Gentiles, whom the Jews called unclean, and yet, with the sweetest odor of devotion, they lick the sufferings of our Lord in the Sacraments of His Body and Blood throughout the whole world. Abraham’s bosom is understood to be the hiding place of the Father, whither after His Passion our Lord rising again was taken up, whither He was said to be carried by the angels, as it seems to me, because that reception by which Christ reached the Father’s secret place the angels announced to the disciples. The rest may be taken according to the former explanation, because that is well understood to be the Father’s secret place, where even before the resurrection the souls of the righteous live with God.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 17:1-2
THEOPHYL. Because the Pharisees were covetous and railed against Christ when He preached poverty, He put to them the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Afterwards, in speaking with His disciples concerning the Pharisees, He declares them to be men who caused division, and placed obstacles in the divine way. As it follows: Then said he to his disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come, that is, hindrances to a good life and which is pleasing to God.
CYRIL; Now there are two kinds of offenses, of which the one resist the glory of God, but the other serve only to cause a stumbling-block to the brethren. For the inventions of heresies, and every word that is spoken against the truth, are obstructions to the glory of God. Such offenses however do not seem to be mentioned here, but rather those which occur between friends and brethren, as strifes, slanders, and the like. Therefore He adds afterwards, If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him. THEOPHYL. Or, He says that there must arise many obstacles to preaching and to the truth, as the Pharisees hindered the preaching of Christ. But some ask, If it needs be that offenses should come, why does our Lord rebuke the author of the offenses? for it follows, But woe to him through when they came. For whatsoever necessity engenders is pardonable, or deserving of pardon. But observe, that necessity itself derives its birth from free-will. For our Lord, seeing how men cling to evil, and put forward nothing good, spoke with reference to the consequence of those things which are seen, that offenses must needs come; just as if a physician, seeing a man using an unwholesome diet, should say, It is impossible but that such a one should be sick. And therefore to him that causes offenses He denounces woe, and threatens punishment, saying, It were better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, &c. BEDE; This is spoken according to the custom of the province of Palestine; for among the ancient Jews the punishment of those who were guilty of the greater crimes was that they should be sunk into the deep with a stone tied to them ; and in truth it were better for a guilty man to finish his bodily life by a punishment however barbarous, yet temporal, than for his innocent brother to deserve the eternal death of his soul. Now he who can be offended is rightly called a little one; for he who is great, whatsoever he is witness of; and how great soever his sufferings, swerves not from the faith. As far then as we can without sin, we ought to avoid giving offense to our neighbors. But if an offense is taken at the truth, it is better to let the offense be, than that truth should be abandoned.
CHRYS. But by the punishment of the man who offends, learn the reward of him who saves. For had not the salvation of one soul been of such exceeding care to Christ, he would not threaten with such a punishment the offender.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 19:37-40
ORIGEN; As long as our Lord was in the mount His Apostles only were with Him, but when He began to be near the descent, then there came to Him a multitude of the people. THEOPHYL. He calls by the name of disciples not only the twelve, or the seventy-two, but all who followed Christ, whether for the sake of the miracles, or from a certain charm in His teaching, and to them may be added the children, as the other Evangelists relate. Hence it follows, For all the mighty works which they had seen. BEDE; They beheld indeed many of our Lord’s miracles, but marveled most at the resurrection of Lazarus. For as John says, For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. For it must be observed that this was not the first time of our Lord’s coming to Jerusalem, but He came often before, as John relates. AMBROSE; The multitude then acknowledging God, proclaims Him King, repeats the prophecy, and declares that the expected Son of David according to the flesh had come, saying, Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord. BEDE; That is, in the name of God the Father, although it might be taken “in His own name,” since He Himself is the Lord. But His own words are better guides to the meaning when He says, I am come in my Father’s name. For Christ is the Master of humility. Christ is not called King as one who exacts tribute, or arms His forces with the sword, or visibly crushes His enemies, but because He rules men’s minds, and brings them believing, hoping, and loving into the kingdom of heaven. For He was willing to be King of Israel, to show His compassion, not to increase His power. But because Christ appeared in the flesh, as the redemption and light of the whole world, well do both the heaven and earth, each in their turn, chant His praises. When He is born into the world, the heavenly hosts sing; when He is about to return to heaven, men send back their note of praise. As it follows, Peace in heaven. THEOPHYL. That is, the ancient warfare, wherein we were at enmity against God, has ceased. And glory in the highest, inasmuch as Angels are glorifying God for such a reconciliation. For this very thing, that God visibly walks in the land of His enemies, shows that He has peace with us. But the Pharisees when they heard that the crowd called Him King, and praised Him as God, murmured, imputing the name of King to sedition, the name of God to blasphemy. And some of the Pharisees said, Master, rebuke your disciples. BEDE; O the strange folly of the envious; they scruple not to call Him Master, because they knew He taught the truth, but His disciples, as though themselves were better taught they deem worthy of rebuke.
CYRIL; But the Lord forbade not them that glorified Him as God, but rather forbade those that blamed them, so bearing witness to Himself concerning the glory of the Godhead. Hence it follows, He answered and said to them, I tell you, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. THEOPHYL. As if He said, Not without cause do men praise me thus, but being constrained by the mighty works which they have seen. BEDE; And so at the crucifixion of our Lord, when His kinsfolk were silent from fear, the stones and rocks sang forth, while after that He gave up the ghost, the earth was moved, and the rocks were rent, and the graves opened. AMBROSE; Nor is it wonderful that the stones against their nature should chant forth the praises of the Lord, whom His murderers, harder than the rocks, proclaim aloud, that is, the multitude, in a little while about to crucify their God, denying Him in their hearts, whole with their mouths they confess. Or perhaps it is said; because, when the Jews were struck silent after the Lord’s Passion, the living stones, as Peter calls them, were about to cry out. ORIGEN; When we also are silent, (that is, when the love of many wax cold,) the stones cry out, for God can from stones raise up children to Abraham.
AMBROSE; Rightly we read that the crowds praising God met Him at the descent of the mountain, that they might signify that the works of the heavenly mystery had come to them from heaven. BEDE; Again, when our Lord descends from the mount of Olives, the multitude descend also, because since the Author of mercy has suffered humiliation, it is necessary that all those who need His mercy should follow His footsteps.
Score: 1.00Commentary for Luke 24:1-12
BEDE; Devout women not only on the day of preparation, but also when the sabbath was passed, that is, at sun-set, as soon as the liberty of working returned, bought spices that they might come and anoint the body of Jesus, as Mark testifies. Still as long as night time restrained them, they came not to the sepulcher. And therefore it is said, On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, &c. One of the Sabbath, or the first of the Sabbath, is the first day from the Sabbath; which Christians are wont to call “the Lord s day”, because of our Lord’s resurrection. But by the women coming to the sepulcher very early in the morning, is manifested their great zeal and fervent love of seeking and finding the Lord. AMBROSE; Now this place has caused great perplexity to many, because while St. Luke says, Very early in the morning, Matthew says that it was in the evening of the sabbath that the women came to the sepulcher. But you may suppose that the Evangelists spoke of different occasions, so as to understand both different parties of women, and different appearances. Because however it was written, that in the evening of the sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, our Lord rose, we must so take it, as that neither on the morning of the Lord’s day, which is the first after the sabbath, nor on the sabbath, the resurrection should be thought to have taken place. For how are the three days fulfilled; Not then as the day grew towards evening, but in the evening of the night He rose. Lastly, in the Greek it is “late;” but late signifies both the hour at the end of the day, and the slowness of any thing; as we say, “I have been lately told.” Late then is also the dead of the night. And thus also the women had the opportunity of coming to the sepulcher when the guards were asleep. And that you may know it was in the night time, some of the women are ignorant of it. They know who watch night and day, they know not who have gone back. According to John, one Mary Magdalene knows not, for the same person could not first know and then afterwards be ignorant. Therefore if there are several Marys, perhaps also there are several Mary Magdalenes, since the former is the name of a person, the second is derived from a place. AUG. Or Matthew by the first part of the night, which is the evening, wished to represent the night itself, at the end of which night they came to the sepulcher, and for this reason, because they had been now preparing since the evening, and it was lawful to bring spices because the sabbath was over. EUSEBIUS. The Instrument of the Word lay dead, but a great stone enclosed the sepulcher, as if death had led Him captive. But three days had not yet elapsed, when life again puts itself forth after a sufficient proof of death, as it follows, And they found the stone rolled away.
THEOPHYL. An angel had rolled it away, as Matthew declares. CHRYS. But the stone was rolled away after the resurrection, on account of the women, that they might believe that the Lord had risen again, seeing indeed the grave without the body. Hence it follows, And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord JesusCYRIL; When then they found not the body of Christ which was risen, they were distracted by various thoughts, and for their love of Christ and the tender care they had shown Him, were thought worthy of the vision of angels. For it follows, And it came to pass as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. EUSEBIUS. The messengers of the health-bearing resurrection and their shining garments stand for tokens of pleasantness and rejoicing. For Moses preparing plagues against the Egyptians, perceived an angel in the flame of fire. But not such were those who appeared to the women at the sepulcher, but calm and joyful as became them to be seen in the kingdom and joy of the Lord. And as at the Passion the sun was darkened, holding forth signs of sorrow and woe to the crucifiers of our Lord, so the angels, heralds of life and resurrection, marked by their white garments the character of the health-bearing feast day.
AMBROSE; But how is it that Mark has mentioned one young man sitting in white garments, and Matthew one, but John and Luke relate that there were seen two angels sitting in white garments. AUG. We may understand that one Angel was seen by the women, as both Mark and Matthew say, so as supposing them to have entered into the sepulcher, that is, into a certain space which was fenced off by a kind of wall in front of the stone sepulcher; and that there they saw an Angel sitting on the right hand, which Mark says, but that afterwards when they looked into the place where our Lord was lying, they saw within two other Angels standing, (as Luke says,) who spoke to encourage their minds, and build up their faith. Hence it follows, And as they were afraid,. BEDE; The holy women, when the Angels stood beside them, are reported not to have fallen to the ground, but to have bowed their faces to the earth; nor do we read that any of the saints, at the time of our Lord’s resurrection, worshipped with prostration to the ground either our Lord Himself, or the Angels who appeared to them. Hence has arisen the ecclesiastical custom, either in memory of our Lord’s resurrection, or in the hope of our own, of praying on every Lord’s day, and through the whole season of Pentecost, not with bended knees, but with our faces bowed to the earth. But not in the sepulcher, which is the place of the dead, was He to be sought, who rose from the dead to life. And therefore it is added, They said to them, that is, the Angels to the women, Why seek you the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen. On the third day then, as He Himself foretold to the women, together with the rest of His disciples, He celebrated the triumph of His resurrection. Hence it follows, Remember how he spoke to you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again, &c. For on the day of the preparation at the ninth hour giving up the ghost, buried in the evening, early on the morning of the first day of the week He rose again.
ATHAN. He might indeed at once have raised His body from the dead. But some one would have said that He was never dead, or that death plainly had never existed in Him. And perhaps if the resurrection of our Lord had been delayed beyond the third day, the glory of incorruption had been concealed. In order therefore to show His body to be dead, He suffered the interval of one day, and on the third day manifested His body to be without corruption. BEDE; One day and two nights also He lay in the sepulcher, because He joined the light of His single death to the darkness of our double death.
CYRIL; Now the women, when they had received the sayings of the Angels, hastened to tell them to the disciples; as it follows, And they remembered his words, and returned from the sepulcher, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. For woman who was once the minister of death, is now the first to receive and tell the awful mystery of the resurrection. The female race has obtained therefore both deliverance from reproach, and the withdrawal of the curse. AMBROSE; It is not allowed to women to teach in the church, but they shall ask their husbands at home. To those then who are at home is the woman sent. But who these women were he explains, adding, It was Mary Magdalene,
BEDE; (who was also the sister of Lazarus,) and Joanna, (the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward,) and Mary the mother of James, (that is, the mother of James the less, and Joseph.) And it is added generally of the others, and other women that were with them, which told these things to the Apostles. BEDE; For that the woman might not endure the everlasting reproach of guilt from men, she who had transfused sin into the man, now also transfuses grace.
THEOPHYL. Now the miracle of the resurrection is naturally incredible to mankind. Hence it follows, And their words seemed to them as idle tales. BEDE; Which was not so much their weakness, as so to speak our strength. For the resurrection itself was demonstrated to those who doubted by many proofs, which while we read and acknowledge we are through their doubts confirmed in the truth.
THEOPHYL. Peter, as soon as he heard this, delays not, but runs to the sepulcher; for fire when applied to matter knows no delay; as it follows, Then arose Peter, and ran to the sepulcher.
EUSEBIUS. For he alone believed the women saying that they had seen Angels; and as he was of more ardent feelings than the rest, he anxiously put himself foremost, looking every where for the Lord; as it follows, And stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves. THEOPHYL. But now when he was at the tomb, he first of all obtained that he should marvel at those things which had before been derided by himself or the others; as it is said, And departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass; that is, wondering in himself at the way in which it had happened, how the linen clothes had been left behind, since the body was anointed with myrrh; or what opportunity the thief had obtained, that putting away the clothes wrapped up by themselves, he should take away the body with the soldiers standing round. AUG. Luke is supposed to have mentioned this concerning Peter, recapitulating. For Peter ran to the sepulcher at the same time that John also went, as soon as it had been told to them alone by the women, (especially Mary Magdalene,) that the body was taken away. But the vision of Angels took place afterwards. Luke therefore mentioned Peter only, because to him Mary first told it. It may also strike one, that Luke says that Peter, not entering but stooping down, saw the linen clothes by themselves, and departed wondering, whereas John says, that he himself saw the linen clothes in the same position, and that he entered after Peter. We must understand then that Peter first saw them stooping down, which Luke mentions, John omits, but that he afterwards entered before John came in.
BEDE; According to the mystical meaning, by the women coming early in the morning to the sepulcher, we have an example given us, that having cast away the darkness of our vices, we should come to the Body of the Lord. For that sepulcher also bore the figure of the Altar of the Lord, wherein herein the mysteries of Christ’s Body, not in silk or purple cloth, but in pure white linen, like that in which Joseph wrapped it, ought to be consecrated, that as He offered up to death for us the true substance of His earthly nature, so we also in commemoration of Him should place on the Altar the flax, pure from the plant of the earth, and white, and in many ways refined by a kind of crushing to death. But the spices which the women bring, signify the odor of virtue, and the sweetness of prayers by which we ought to approach the Altar. The rolling back of the stone alludes to the unclosing of the Sacraments which were concealed by the veil of the letter of the law which was written on stone, the covering of which being taken away, the dead body of the Lord is not found, but the living body is preached; for although we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more. But as when the Body of our Lord lay in the sepulcher, Angels are said to have stood by, so also at the time of consecration are they to be believed to stand by the mysteries of Christ. Let us then after the example of the devout women, whenever we approach the heavenly mysteries because of the presence of the Angels, or from reverence to the Sacred Offering, with all humility, bow our faces to the earth, recollecting that we are but dust and ashes.
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 12:12-19
CHRYS. The Law enjoined, that on the tenth day of the first month a lamb or a kid should be shut up in the house, and be kept to the fourteenth day of the same month, on the evening of which day it was sacrificed. In accordance with this law, the Elect Lamb, the Lamb without spot, when He went up to Jerusalem to be immolated for the sanctification of the people, went up five days before, i.e. on the tenth day. AUG. See how great was the fruit of His preaching and how large a flock of the lost sheep of the house of Israel heard the voice of their Shepherd: On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees. The branches of palms are songs of praise, for the victory which our Lord was about to obtain by His death over death, and His triumph over the devil, the prince of death, by the trophy of the cross. CHRYS. They showed now at last that they thought Him greater than a prophet: And went forth to meet Him, and cried, Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel, that comes in the name of the Lord. AUG. Hosanna is a simple exclamation, rather indicating some excitement of the mind, than having any particular meaning; like many interjections that we have in Latin. BEDE. It is a compound of two words; Hosi is shortened into save; Anna a mere exclamation, complete. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. The name of the Lord here is the name of God the Father; though we may understand it as His own name; inasmuch as He also is the Lord. But the former sense agrees better with the text above, I am come in My Father's name. He does not lose His divinity, when He teaches us humility. CHRYS. This is what more than anything made men believe in Christ, viz. the assurance, that He was not opposed to God, that He came from the Father. The words show us the divinity of Christ. Hosanna is, Save us; and salvation in Scripture is attributed to God alone. And comes, it is said, not is brought: the former befits a lord, the latter a servant. In the name of the Lord, goes to prove the same thing. He does not come in the name of a servant, but in the name of the Lord. AUG. It were a small thing to the King eternal to be made a human king. Christ was not the King of Israel, to exact tribute, and command armies, but to direct souls, and bring them to the kingdom of heaven. For Christ then to be King of Israel, w as a condescension, not an elevation, a sign of His pity, not an increase of His power. For He who was as called on earth the King of the Jews, is in heaven the King of Angels.
THEOPHYL. The Jews, when they called Him King of Israel, dreamed of an earthly king. They expected a king to arise, of more that human greatness, who would deliver them from the government of the Romans. But how did our Lord come? The next words tell us; And Jesus when He had found a. young ass, sat thereon. AUG. John relates the matter briefly, the other Evangelists are more full. The ass, we read in them, was the foal of an ass on which no man had sat: i.e. the Gentile world, who had not received our Lord. The other ass, which was brought, (not the foal, for there were two,) is the believing Jew. CHRYS. He did this prophetically, to figure the unclean Gentiles being brought into subjection to the Gospel; and also as a fulfillment of prophecy. AUG. This act of our Lord's is pointed to in the Prophets, though the malignant rulers of the Jews did not see in it any fulfillment of prophecy: As it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion, behold your King comes sitting on an ass's colt. Yea, in that nation though reprobate, though blind, there remained still the daughter of Sion; even Jerusalem. To her it is said, Fear not, acknowledge Him whom you praise, and tremble not when He suffers. That blood it is which shall wipe away your sins, and redeem your life CHRYS. Or thus: Whereas they had had wicked kings, who had subjected them to wars, He said to them, Trust Me, I am not such as they, but gentle and mild: which He showed by the manner of His entrance. For He did not enter at the head of an army, but simply riding on an ass. And observe the philosophy of the Evangelist, who is not ashamed of confessing his ignorance at the time of what these things meant: These things understood not the disciple at the first, but when Jesus was glorified. AUG. i.e. When He showed the power of His resurrection, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him, i.e. those things that were written of Him. CHRYS. Our Lord had not then revealed these things to them. Indeed it would have been a scandal to them had they known Him to be King at the time of His sufferings. Nor would they have understood the nature of His kingdom, but have mistaken it for a temporal one.
THEOPHYL. See then the consequences of our Lord's passion. It was not to no purpose that He had reserved His greatest miracle for the last. For the resurrection of Lazarus it was that made the crowd believe in Him. The people therefore that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met Him, for that they heard that He had done this miracle. Hence the spite and plotting of the Pharisees: The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive you how you prevail nothing? behold the world is gone after Him. AUG. The crowd was disturbed by the crowd. But why grudge that blind crowd, that the world should go after Him, by Whom the world was made? CHRYS. The world means here the crowd. This seems to be the speech of that part who were sound in their faith, but dared not profess it. They try to deter the rest by exposing the insuperable difficulties they would have to contend with. THEOPHYL. As if they said, The more you attack Him, the more will His power and reputation increase. What use then of these attempts?
drb › John › 12 › Verse 12 through 19
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 12:1-11
ALCUIN. As the time approached in which our Lord had resolved to suffer, He approached the place which He had chosen for the scene of His suffering: Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany. First, He went to Bethany, then to Jerusalem; to Jerusalem to suffer, to Bethany to keep alive the recollection of the recent resurrection of Lazarus; Where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom He raised from the dead. THEOPHYL. On the tenth day of the month they took the lamb which was to be sacrificed on the passover, and from that time began the preparation for the feast. Or rather the ninth day of the month, i.e. six days before the passover, was the commencement of the feast. They feasted abundantly on that day. Thus we find Jesus partook of a banquet at Bethany: There they made Him a supper, and Martha served. That Martha served, shows that the entertainment was in her house. See the fidelity of the woman: she does not leave the task of serving to the domestics, but takes it upon herself. The Evangelist adds, in order, it would seem, to settle Lazarus, resurrection beyond dispute, But Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him.
AUG. He lived, talked, feasted; the truth was established, the unbelief of the Jews confounded. CHRYS. Mary did not take part in serving the guests generally, but gave all her attention to our Lord, treating Him not as mere man, but as God: Then took Mary, a pound of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair.
AUG. The word pistici seems to be the name of some place, from which this precious ointment came. ALCUIN. Or pistici means genuine, non-adulterated. She is the woman that was a sinner, who came to our Lord in Simon's house with the box of ointment. AUG. That she did this on another occasion in Bethany is not mentioned in Luke's Gospel, but is in the other three. Matthew and Mark say that the ointment was poured on the head, John says, on the feet. Why not suppose that it was poured both on the head, and on the feet? Matthew and Mark introduce the supper and the ointment out of place in the order of time (Matt 26:9 and Mark 14:3). When they are some way farther on in their narration, they go back to the sixth day before the passover.
And the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. AUG. Remember the Apostle's words: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life (2 Cor 11:16). AUG. Then said one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? In the other Gospels it is the disciples who murmured at the waste of the ointment. I think myself that Judas is put for the whole body of disciples; the singular for the plural. But at any rate we may supply for ourselves, that the other disciples said it, or thought it, or were persuaded by this very speech of Judas. The only difference is, that Matthew and Mark expressly mention the concurrence of the others, whereas John only mentions Judas, whose habit of thieving He takes occasion to notice: This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. ALCUIN. He carried it as a servant, he took it out as a thief.
AUG. Judas did not perish at the time when he received money from the Jews to betray our Lord. He was already a thief, already lost, and followed our Lord in body, not in heart; wherein we are taught the duty of tolerating wicked men, lest we divide the body of Christ. He who robs the Church of anything may be compared to the lost Judas. Tolerate the wicked, you that are good, that you may receive the reward of the good, and not fall into the punishment of the wicked. Follow the example of our Lord's conversation upon earth. Wherefore had He bags, to whom the Angels ministered, except because His Church should afterwards have bags? Why did He admit thieves, but to show that His Church should tolerate thieves, while it suffered from them. It is not surprising that Judas, who was accustomed to steal money from the bags, should betray our Lord for money. CHRYS. But why was a thief entrusted with the bags of the poor? Perhaps it was to give him no excuse of wanting), money, for of this he had enough in the bag for all his desires. THEOPHYL. Some suppose that Judas had the keeping of the money, as being the lowest kind of service. For that the ministry of money matters ranks below the ministry of doctrine, we know from what the Apostle says in the Acts, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables (Acts 6:2). CHRYS. Christ, with great forbearance, does not rebuke Judas for his thieving, in order to deprive him of all excuse for betraying Him. ALCUIN. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the clay of My burying has she kept this: meaning that He was about to die, and that this ointment was suitable for His burial. So to Mary who was not able to be present, though much wishing, at the anointing of the dead body, was it given to do Him this office in His lifetime.
CHRYS. Again, as if to remind His betrayer, He alludes to His burial; For the poor you have always with you, but Me you have not always: as if He said, I am a burden, a trouble to you; but wait a little, and I shall be gone. AUG. He was speaking of His bodily presence; for in respect of His majesty, providence, ineffable and invisible grace, those words are fulfilled, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world (Matt 28:20). Or thus: In the person of Judas are represented the wicked in the Church; for if you are a good man, you have Christ now by faith, and the Sacrament, and you shall have Him always, for when you have departed hence, you shall go to Him who said to the thief, Today shall thou be with Me in paradise (Luke 23:43). But if you are wicked, you seem to have Christ, because you are baptized with the baptism of Christ, because you approach to the altar of Christ: but by reason of your wicked life, you shall not have Him always. It is not you have, but you have, the whole body of wicked men being addressed in Judas. Much people of the Jews therefore knew that He was there, and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead. Curiosity brought them, not love. THEOPHYL. They wished to see with their own eyes him who had been raised from the dead, and thought that Lazarus might bring back a report of the regions below. AUG. When the news of this great miracle had spread everywhere, and was supported by such clear evidence, that they could neither suppress or deny the fact, then, The chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus to death. O blind rage! as if the Lord could raise the dead, and not raise the slain. Lo, the Lord has done both. He raised Lazarus, and He raised Himself. CHRYS. No other miracle of Christ excited such rage as this. It was so public, and so wonderful, to see a man walking and talking after he had been dead four days. And the fact was so undeniable. In the case of some other miracles they had charged Him with breaking the Sabbath, and so diverted people's minds: but here there was nothing to find fault with, and therefore they vent their anger upon Lazarus. They would have done the same to the blind man, had they not had the charge to make of breaking the Sabbath. Then again the latter was a poor man, and they cast him out of the temple, but Lazarus was a man of rank, as is plain from the number who came to comfort his sisters. It vexed them to see all leaving the feast, which was now coming on, and going to Bethany. ALCUIN. Mystically, that He came to Bethany six days before the passover, means, that He who made all things in six days, who created man on the sixth, in the sixth age of the world, the sixth day, the sixth hour, came to redeem mankind. The Lord's Supper is the faith of the Church, working by love. Martha serves, whenever a believing soul devotes itself to the worship of the Lord. Lazarus is one of them that sit at table, when those who have been raised from the death of sin, rejoice together with the righteous, who have been ever such, in the presence of truth, and are fed with the gifts of heavenly grace. The banquet is given in Bethany, which means, house of obedience, i.e. in the Church: for the Church is the house of obedience. AUG. The ointment with which Mary anointed the feet of Jesus was justice. It was therefore a pound. It was ointment of spikenard (pistici) too very precious. Greek for faith. Do you seek to do justice? The just live by faith (Heb 10:38). Anoint the feet of Jesus by good living, follow the Lord's footsteps: if you have a superfluity, give to the poor, and you have wiped the Lord's feet; for the hair is a superfluous part of the body. ALCUIN. And observe, on the first occasion of her anointing, she anointed His feet only, but now she anoints both His feet and head. The former denotes the beginnings of penitence, the latter the righteousness of souls perfected. By the head of our Lord the loftiness of His Divine nature, by His feet the lowliness of His incarnation are signified; or by the head, Christ Himself, by the feet, the poor who are His members. AUG. The house was filled with the odor; the world was filled With the good fame.
drb › John › 12 › Verse 1 through 11
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:41-46
ALCUIN. Christ, as man, being inferior to the Father, prays to Him for Lazarus's resurrection; and declares that He is heard: And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. ORIGEN. He lifted up His eyes; mystically, He lifted up the human mind by prayer to the Father above. We should pray after Christ's pattern, Lift up the eyes of our heart, and raise them above present things in memory, in thought, in intention. If to them who pray worthily after this fashion is given the promise in Isaiah, You shall cry, and He shall say, Here I am; what answer, think we, our Lord and Savior would receive? He was about to pray for the resurrection of Lazarus He was heard by the Father before He prayed; His request was granted before made. And therefore He begins with giving thanks; I thank You, Father, that You have heard Me. CHRYS. i.e. There is no difference of will between Me and You. You have heard Me, does not show any lack of power in Him, or that He is inferior to the Father. It is a phrase that is used between friends and equals. That the prayer is not really necessary for Him, appears from the words that follow, And I knew that You heard Me always: as if He said, I need not prayer to persuade You; for Ours is one will. He hides His meaning on account of the weak faith of His hearers. For God regards not so much His own dignity, as our salvation; and therefore seldom speaks loftily of Himself, and, even when He does, speaks in an obscure way; whereas humble expressions abound in His discourses. HILARY. He did not therefore need to pray: He prayed for our sakes, that we might know Him to be the Son: But because use of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent Me. His prayer did not benefit Himself, but benefited our faith. He did not want help, but we want instruction. CHRYS. He did not say, That they may believe that I am inferior to You, in that I cannot do this without prayer, but, that You have sent Me. He says not, have sent Me weak, acknowledging subjection, doing nothing of Myself, but have sent Me in such sense, as that man may see that I am from God, not contrary to God; and that I do this miracle in accordance with His will. AUG. Christ went to the grave in which Lazarus slept, as if He were not dead, but alive and able to hear, for He forthwith called him out of his grave. And when He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. He calls him by name, that He may not bring out all the dead. CHRYS. He does not say, Arise, but, Come forth, speaking to the dead as if he were alive. For which reason also He does not say, Come forth in My Father's name, or, Father, raise him, but throwing off the whole appearance of one praying, proceeds to show His power by acts. This is His general way. His words show humility, His acts power. THEOPHYL. The voice which roused Lazarus, is the symbol of that trumpet which will sound at the general resurrection. (He spoke loud, to contradict the Gentile fable, that the soul remained in the tomb. The soul of Lazarus is called to as if it were absent, and a loud voice were necessary to summon it.) And as the general resurrection is to take place in the twinkling of an eye, so did this single one: And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was as bound about with a napkin. Now is accomplished what was said above, The hour is coming, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. ORIGEN. His cry and loud voice it was which awoke him, as Christ had said, I go to awake him. The resurrection of Lazarus is the work of the Father also, in that He heard the prayer of the Son. It is the joint work of Father and Son, one praying, the other hearing; for as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will. CHRYS. He came forth bound, that none might suspect that he was a mere phantom. Besides, that this very fact, viz. of coming forth bound, was itself a miracle, as great as the resurrection. Jesus said to them, Loose him, that by going near and touching him they might be certain he was the very person. And let him go. His humility is strewn here; He does not take Lazarus about with Him for the sake of display.
ORIGEN. Our Lord had said above, Because of the people that stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent Me. It would have been ignorance of the future, if He had said this, and none believed, after all. Therefore it follows: Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. But some of them went their way to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. It is doubtful from these words, whether those who went to the Pharisees, were of those many who believed, and meant to conciliate the opponents of Christ; or whether they were of the unbelieving party, and wished to inflame the envy of the Pharisees against Him. The latter seems to me the true supposition; especially as the Evangelist describes those who believed as the larger party. Many believed; whereas it is only a few who go to the Pharisees: Some of them went to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. AUG. Although according to the Gospel history, we hold that Lazarus was really raised to life, yet I doubt not that his resurrection is an allegory as well. We do not, because we allegorize facts, lose our belief in them as facts. AUG. Everyone that sins, dies; but God, of His great mercy, raises the soul to life again, and does not suffer it to die eternally. The three miraculous resurrections in the Gospels, understand to testify, the resurrection of the soul.
GREG. The maiden is restored to life in the house, the young man outside the gate, Lazarus in his grave. She that lies dead in the house, is the sinner dying in sin: he that is carried out by the gate is the openly and notoriously wicked. AUG. Or, it is death within; when the evil thought has not come out into action. But if you actually do the evil thing, you have as it were carried the dead outside the gate. GREG. And one there is who lies dead in his grave, with a load of earth upon him; i.e. who is weighed down by habits of sin. But the Divine grace has regard even to such, and enlightens them. AUG. Or we may take Lazarus in the grave as the soul laden with earthly sins. AUG. And yet our Lord loved Lazarus. For had He not loved sinners, He would never have come down from heaven to save them. Well is it said of one of sinful habits, that He stinks. He has a bad report already, as it were the foulest odor. AUG. Well may she say, He has been dead four days For the earth is the last of the elements. It signifies the pit of earthly sins, i.e. carnal lusts. AUG. The Lord groaned, wept, cried with a loud voice. It is hard for Him to arise who is bowed down with the weight of evil habits. Christ troubles Himself, to signify to you that you should be troubled, when you are pressed and weighed down with such a mass of sin. Faith groans, he that is displeased with himself groans, and accuses his own evil deeds; that so the habit of sin may yield to the violence of repentance. When you say, I have done such a thing, and God has spared me; I have heard the Gospel, and despised it; what shall I do? Then Christ groans, because faith groans; and in the voice of your groaning appears the hope of your rising again. GREG. Lazarus is bid to come forth, i.e. to come forth and condemn himself with his own mouth, without excuse or reservation: that so he that lies buried in a guilty conscience, may come forth out of himself by confession. AUG. That Lazarus came forth from the grave, signifies the soul's deliverance from carnal sins. That he came bound up in grave clothes means, that even we who are delivered from carnal things, and serve with the mind the law of God, yet cannot, so long as we are in the body, be free from the besetments of the flesh. That his face was bound about with a napkin means, that we do not attain to full knowledge in this life. And when our Lord says, Loose him, and let him go, we learn that in another world all veils will be removed, and that we shall see face to face. AUG. Or thus: When you despise, you lie dead; when you confess, you come forth. For what is to come forth, but to go out, as it were, of your hiding place, and show yourself? But you cannot make this confession, except God move you to it, by crying with a loud voice, i.e. calling you with great grace. But even after the dead man has come forth, he remains bound for some time, i.e. is as yet only a penitent. Then our Lord says to His ministers, Loose him, and let him go, i.e. remit his sins: Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. ALCUIN. Christ awakes, because His power it is which quickens us inwardly: the disciples loose, because by the ministry of the priesthood, they who are quickened are absolved. BEDE. By those who went and told the Pharisees, are meant those who seeing the good works of God's servants, hate them on that very account, persecute, and calumniate them.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 41 through 46
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:28-32
CHRYS. Christ's words had the effect of stopping Martha's grief. In her devotion to her Master she had no time to think of her afflictions: And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly. AUG. Silently, i.e. speaking in a low voice. For she did speak, saying, the Master is come, and calls for you. CHRYS. She calls her sister secretly, in order not to let the Jews know that Christ was coming. For had they known, they would have gone, and not been witnesses of the miracle. AUG. We may observe that the Evangelist has not said, where, or when, or how, the Lord called Mary, but for brevity's sake has left it to be gathered from Martha's words. THEOPHYL. Perhaps she thought the presence of Christ in itself a call, as if it were inexcusable, when Christ came, that she should not go out to meet Him. CHRYS. While the rest sat around her in her sorrow, she did not wait for the Master to come to her, but, not letting her grief detain her, rose immediately to meet Him; As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came to Him. AUG. So we see, if she had known of His arrival before, she would not have let Martha go without her. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met Him. CHRYS. He went slowly that He might not seem to catch at an occasion of working a miracle, but to have it forced upon Him by others asking Mary, it is said, arose quickly, and thus anticipated His coming. The Jews accompanied her: The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she arose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goes to the grave to weep there. AUG. The Evangelist mentions this to show how it was that so many were present at Lazarus' resurrection, and witness of that great miracle.
Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet. CHRYS. She is more fervent than her sister. Forgetful of the crowd around her, and of the Jews, some of whom were enemies to Christ, she threw herself at her Master's feet. In His presence all earthly things were nothing to her; she thought of nothing but giving Him honor. THEOPHYL. But her faith seems as yet imperfect: Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died.
ALCUIN. As if to say, Lord, while You were with us, no disease, no sickness dared to show itself, amongst those with whom the Life deigned to take up His abode. AUG. O faithless assembly! While You are yet in the world, Lazarus your friend dies! If the friend cries, what will the enemy suppose? Is it a small thing that they will not serve You upon earth? Lo, hell has taken your beloved. BEDE. Mary did not say so much as Martha, she could not bring out what she wanted for weeping, as is usual with persons overwhelmed with sorrow.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 28 through 32
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:33-41
CHRYS. Christ did not answer Mary, as He had her; sister, on account of the people present. In condescension to them He humbled Himself, and let His human nature be seen, in order to gain them as witnesses to the miracle: When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in His spirit, and was troubled. AUG. For who but Himself could trouble Him? Christ was troubled, because it pleased Him to be troubled; He hungered, because it pleased Him to hunger. It was in His own power to be affected in this or that way or not. The Word took up soul and flesh, and whole man, and fitted it to Himself in unity of person. And thus according to the nod and will of that higher nature in Him, in which the sovereign power resides, He becomes weak and troubled. THEOPHYL. To prove His human nature He sometimes gives it free vent, while at other times He commands, and restrains it by, the power of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord allows His nature to be affected in these ways both to prove that He is very Man, not Man in appearance only; and also to teach us by His own example the due measures of joy and grief. For the absence altogether of sympathy and sorrow is brutal, the excess of them is womanly.
AUG. And said, Where have you laid him? He knew where but He asked to try the faith of the people. CHRYS. He did not wish to thrust the miracle upon them, but to make them ask for it, and thus do away with all suspicions. AUG. The question has an allusion too to our hidden calling. That, predestination by which we are called, is hidden; and the sign of its being so is our Lord asking the question. He being as it were in ignorance, so long as we are ignorant ourselves. Or because our Lord elsewhere shows that He knows not sinners, saying, I know you not, because in keeping His commandments there is no sin.
They said to Him, Lord, come and see. CHRYS. He had not yet raised anyone from the dead; and seemed as if He came to weep, not to raise to life. Wherefore they say to Him, Come and see. AUG. The Lord sees when He pities, as we read, Look upon my adversity and misery, and forgive me all my sin.
Jesus wept. ALCUIN. Because He was the fountain of pity. He wept in His human nature for him whom He was able to raise again by His divine. AUG. Wherefore did Christ weep, but to teach men to weep? BEDE. It is customary to mourn over the death of friends; and thus the Jews explained our Lord's weeping: Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him. AUG. Loved him. Our Lord came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. And some of them said, Could not this Man which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? He was about to do more than this, to raise him from death. CHRYS. It was His enemies who said this. The very works, which should have evidenced His power, they turn against Him, as if He had not really done them. This is the way that they speak of the miracle of opening the eyes of the man that was born blind. They even prejudge Christ before He has come to the grave, and have not the patience to wait for the issue of the matter. Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself, comes to the grave. That He wept, and He groaned, are mentioned to show us the reality of His human nature. John who enters into higher statements as to His nature than any of the other Evangelists, also descends lower than any in describing His bodily affections. AUG. And do you too groan in yourself, if you would rise to new life. To every man is this said, who is weighed down by any vicious habit. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. The dead under the stone is the guilty under the Law. For the Law, which was as given to the Jews, was as graven on stone. And all the guilty are under the Law, for the Law was not made for a righteous man. BEDE. A cave is a hollow in a rock. It is called a monument, because it reminds us of the dead.
Jesus said, Take away the stone. CHRYS. But why did He not raise him without taking away the stone? Could not He who moved a dead body by His voice, much more have moved a stone? He purposely did not do so, in order that the miracle might take place in the sight of all; to give no room for saying, as they had said in the case of the blind man, This is not he. Now they might go into the grave, and feel and see that this was the man. AUG. Take away the stone; mystically, take away the burden of the law, proclaim grace. AUG. Perhaps those are signified who wished to impose the rite of circumcision on the Gentile converts; or men in the Church of corrupt life, who offend believers. AUG. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, though they had often seen Christ raise the dead, did not fully believe that He could raise their brother; Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said to Him, Lord, by this time he stinks, for he has been dead four days. THEOPHYL. Martha said this from weakness of faith, thinking it impossible that Christ could raise her brother, so long after death. BEDE. Or, these are not words of despair, but of wonder. CHRYS. Thus everything tends to stop the mouths of the unbelieving. Their hands take away the stone, their ears hear Christ's voice, their eyes see Lazarus come forth, they perceive the smell of the dead body. THEOPHYL. Christ reminds Martha of what He had told her before, which she had forgotten: Jesus said to her, Said I to you, that, if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?
CHRYS. She did not remember what He said above, He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. To the disciples He had said That the Son of God might be glorified thereby; here it is the glory of the Father He speaks of. The difference is made to suit the different hearers. Our Lord could not rebuke her before such a number, but only says, You shall see the glory of God. AUG. Herein is the glory of God, that he that stinks and has been dead four days, is brought to life again.
Then they took away the stone. ORIGEN. The delay in taking away the stone was caused by the sister of the dead, who said, By this time he stinks, for he has been dead four days. If she had not said this, it would not be said, Jesus said, Take away the stone. Some delay had arisen; it is best to let nothing come between the commands of Jesus and doing them.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 33 through 41
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:17-27
ALCUIN. Our Lord delayed His coming for four days, that the resurrection of Lazarus might be the more glorious: Then when Jesus came, He found that He had lain in the grave four days already. CHRYS Our Lord had stayed two days, and the messenger had come the day before; the very day on which Lazarus died. This brings us to the fourth day.
AUG. Of the four days many things may be said. They refer to one thing, but one thing viewed in different ways. There is one day of death which the law of our birth brings upon us. Men transgress the natural law, and this is another day of death. The written law is given to men by the hands of Moses, and that is despised - a third day of death. The Gospel comes, and men transgress it - a fourth day of death. But Christ cloth not disdain to awaken even these. ALCUIN. The first sin w as elation of heart, the second assent, the third act, the fourth habit.
Now Bethany was nigh to Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off. CHRYS. Two miles. This is mentioned to account for so many coming from Jerusalem: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. But how could the Jews be consoling the beloved of Christ, when they had resolved that whoever confessed Christ should be put out of the synagogue? Perhaps the extreme affliction of the sisters excited their sympathy; or they wished to show respect for their rank. Or perhaps they who came were of the better sort; as we find many of them believed. Their presence is mentioned to do away with all doubt of the real death of Lazarus. BEDE. Our Lord had not yet entered the town, when Martha met Him: Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was t coming, went and met Him: but Mary sat still in the house. CHRYS. Martha does not take her sister with her, because she wants to speak with Christ alone, and tell Him what has happened. When her hopes had been raised by Him, then she went her way, and called Mary. THEOPHYL. At first she does not tell her sister, for fear, if she came, the Jews, present might accompany her. And she did not wish them to know of our Lord's coming. Then says Martha to Jesus, Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died. CHRYS. She believed in Christ, but she believed not as she ought. She did not speak as if He were God: If You had been here, my brother had not died. THEOPHYL. She did not know that He could have restored her brother as well absent as present. CHRYS. Nor did she know that He wrought His miracles by His own independent power: But I know that even now, whatsoever You will ask of God, God will give it to you. She only thinks Him some very gifted man. AUG. She does not say to Him, Bring my brother to life again; for how could she know that it would be good for him to come to life again; she says, I know that You can do so, if You will but what You will do is for your judgment, not for my presumption to determineCHRYS. But our Lord taught her the truths which she did not know: Jesus says to her your brother shall rise again. Observe, He does not say, I will ask God, that he may rise again, nor on the other hand does He say, I want no help, I do all things of Myself, a declaration which would have been too much for the woman; but something between the two, He shall rise again. AUG. Shall rise again, is ambiguous: for He does not say, now. And therefore it follows: Martha says to Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day; of that resurrection I am certain; of this I am doubtful. CHRYS. She had often heard Christ speak of the resurrection. Jesus now declares His power more plainly: Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He needed therefore none to help Him; for if He did, how could He be the resurrection. And if He is the life, He is not confined by place, but is everywhere, and can heal every where. ALCUIN. I am the resurrection, because I am the life; as through Me he will rise at the general resurrection, through Me he may rise now. CHRYS. To Martha's, Whatsoever You shall ask, He replies, He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: showing her that He is the Giver of all good, and that we must ask of Him. Thus He leads her to the knowledge of high truths; and whereas she had been inquiring only about the resurrection of Lazarus, tells her of a resurrection in which both she and all present would share.
AUG. He that believes in Me, though he were dead: i.e. though his flesh die, his soul shall live till the flesh rise again, never to die more. For faith is the life of the soul.
And whomsoever lives, in the flesh, and believes in Me, though he die for a time in the flesh, shall not die eternally. ALCUIN. Because He has attained to the life of the Spirit, and to an immortal resurrection. Our Lord, from Whom nothing was hid, knew that she believed, but sought from her a confession to salvation: Do you believe this She says to Him, Yea, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ the Son of God, which should come into the world. CHRYS. She seems not to have understood His words; i.e. she saw that He meant something great, but did not see what that was. She is asked one thing, and answers another. AUG When I believed that You were the Son of God, I believed that you were the resurrection, that You were life, and that he that believes in you, though he were dead, shall live.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 17 through 27
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:1-5
BEDE. After our Lord had departed to the other side of Jordan, it happened that Lazarus fell sick: A certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany. In some copies the copulative conjunction precedes, to mark the connection with the words preceding. Lazarus signifies helped. Of all the dead which our Lord raised, he was most helped, for he had lain dead four days, when our Lord raised him to life. AUG. The resurrection of Lazarus is more spoken of than any of our Lord's miracles. But if we hear in mind who He was who wrought this miracle, we shall feel not so much of wonder; as of delight. He who made the man, raised the man; and it is a greater thing to create a man, than to revive him. Lazarus was sick at Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. The place was near Jerusalem. ALCUIN. And as there were many women of this name, He distinguishes her by her well-known act: It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sickCHRYS. First we are to observe that this was not the harlot mentioned in Luke, but an honest woman, who treated our Lord with marked reverence. AUG. John here confirms the passage in Luke, where this is said to have taken place in the house of one Simon a Pharisee: Mary had done this act therefore on a former occasion. That she did it again at Bethany is not mentioned in the narrative of Luke, but is in the other three Gospels. AUG. A cruel sickness had seized Lazarus; a wasting fever was eating away the body of the wretched man day by day: his two sisters sat sorrowful at his bedside, grieving for the sick youth continually. They sent to Jesus: Therefore his sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold he whom you love is sick. AUG. They did not say, Come and heal; they dared not say, Speak the word there, and it shall be done here; but only, Behold, he whom you love is sick. As if to say, It is enough that you know it, you are not one to love and then to desert whom you love.
CHRYS. They hope to excite Christ's pity by these words, Whom as yet they thought to be a man only. Like the centurion and nobleman, they sent, not went, to Christ; partly from their great faith in Him, for they knew Him intimately, partly because their sorrow kept them at home. THEOPHYL. And because they were women and it did not become them to leave their home if they could help it. Great devotion and faith is expressed in these words, Behold, he whom you love is sick. Such was their idea of our Lord's power, that they were surprised, that one, whom He loved, could be seized with sickness.
AUG. When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not to death. For this death itself was not to death, but to give occasion for a miracle; whereby men might be brought to believe in Christ, and so escape real death. It was for the glory of God, wherein observe that our Lord calls Himself God by implication, thus confounding those heretics who say that the Son of God is not God. For the glory of what God? Hear what follows, That the Son of God might be glorified thereby, i.e. by that sickness. CHRYS. That here signifies not the cause, but the event. The sickness sprang from natural causes, but He turned it to the glory of God.
Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. AUG. He is sick, they sorrowful, all beloved. Wherefore they had hope, for they were beloved by Him Who is the Comforter of the sorrowful, and the Healer of the sick. CHRYS. Wherein the Evangelist instructs us not to be sad, it sickness ever falls upon good men, and friends of God.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 1 through 5
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:6-10
ALCUIN. Our Lord heard of the sickness of Lazarus, but suffered four days to pass before He cured it; that the recovery might be a more wonderful one. When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the place where He was. CHRYS. To give time for his death and burial, that they might say, he stinks, and none doubt that it was death, and not a trance, from which he was raised.
Then after that; He says to His disciples, let us go into Judea again. AUG. Where He had just escaped being stoned; for this was the cause of His leaving. He left indeed as man: He left in weakness, but He returns in power.
CHRYS. He had not as yet told His disciples where He was going; but now He tells them, in order to prepare them beforehand, for they are in great alarm, when they hear of it: His disciples say to Him, Master, the Jews sought to stone you, and you go there again? They feared both for Him, and for themselves; for they were not yet confirmed in faith. AUG. When men presumed to give advice to God, disciples to their Master, our Lord rebuked them: Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? He showed Himself to be the day, by appointing twelve disciples: i.e. reckoning Matthias in the place of Judas, and passing over the latter altogether. The hours are lightened by the day; that by the preaching of the hours, the world may believe on the day. Follow Me then, says our Lord, if you wish not to stumble: If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night he stumbles, because there is no light in him. CHRYS. As if to say, the upright need fear no evil: the wicked only have cause to fear. We have done nothing worthy of death, and therefore are in no danger. Or, If any one sees this world's light, he is safe; much more he who is with Me. THEOPHYL. Some understand the day to be the time preceding the Passion, the night to be the Passion. In this sense, while it is day, would mean, before My Passion; You will not stumble before My Passion, because the Jews will not persecute you; but when the night, i.e. My Passion, comes, then shall you be beset with darkness and difficulties.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 6 through 10
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 11:11-16
CHRYS. After He had comforted His disciples in one way, He comforts them in another, by telling them that they were not going to Jerusalem, but to Bethany: These things says He and after that He says to them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep: as if to say, I am not going to dispute again with the Jews, but to awaken our friend. Our friend, He says, to show how strongly they were bound to go. AUG. It was really true that He was sleeping. To our Lord, he was sleeping; to men who could not raise him again, he was dead. Our Lord awoke him with as much ease from his grave, as you awake a sleeper from his bed. He calls him then asleep, with reference to His own power, as the Apostle says, But 1 would not have you to be ignorant, concerning them which are asleep. Asleep, He says, because He is speaking of their resurrection which was to be. But as it matters to those who sleep and wake again daily, what they see in their sleep, some having pleasant dreams, others painful ones, so it is in death; every one sleeps and rises again with his own account.
CHRYS. The disciples however wished to prevent Him going to Judea: Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Sleep is a good sign in sickness. And therefore if he sleep, say they, what need to go and awake him. AUG. The disciples replied, as they understood Him: Although Jesus spoke of his death; but they thought that He had spoken of taking rest in sleep. CHRYS. But if anyone say, that the disciples could not but have known that our Lord meant Lazarus's death, when He said, that I may awake him; because it would have been absurd to have gone such a distance merely to awake Lazarus out of sleep; we answer, that our Lord's words were a kind of enigma to the disciples, here as elsewhere often. AUG. He then declares His meaning openly: Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. CHRYS. But He does not add here, I go that I may awake him. He did not wish to anticipate the miracle by talking of it; a hint to us to shun vain glory, and abstain from empty promises.
AUG. He had been sent for to restore Lazarus from sickness, not from death. But how could the death be hid from Him, into whose hands the soul of the dead had flown?
And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you might believe; i.e. seeing My marvelous power of knowing a thing I have neither seen nor heard. The disciples already believed in Him in consequence of His miracles; so that their faith had not now to begin, but only to increase. That you might believe, means, believe more deeply, more firmly. THEOPHYL. Some have understood this place thus. I rejoice, He says, for your sakes; for if I had been there, I should have only cured a sick man; which is but an inferior sign of power. But since in My absence he has died, you will now see that I can raise even the dead putrefying body, and your faith will be strengthened. CHRYS. The disciples, all dreaded the Jews; end especially Thomas; Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, to his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. But he who was now the most weak and unbelieving of all the disciples, afterwards became stronger than any. And he who dared not go to Bethany, afterwards went over the whole earth, in the midst of those who wished his death, with a spirit indomitable. BEDE. The disciples, checked by our Lord's answer to them, dared no longer oppose; and Thomas, more forward than the rest, says, Let us also go that we may die with him. What an appearance of firmness! He speaks as if he could really do what he said; unmindful, like Peter, of his frailty.
drb › John › 11 › Verse 11 through 16
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 8:1-11
ALCUIN. Our Lord at the time of His passion used to spend the day in Jerusalem, preaching in the temple, and performing miracles, and return in the evening to Bethany, where He lodged with the sisters of Lazarus. Thus on the last day of the feast, having, according to His wont, preached the whole day in the temple, in the evening He went to the mount of Olives. AUG. And where ought Christ to teach, except on the mount of Olives; on the mount of ointment, on the mount of chrism. For the name Christ is from chrism, chrism being the Greek word for unction. He has anointed us, for wrestling with the devil. ALCUIN. The anointing with oil is a relief to the limbs, when wearied and in pain. The mount of Olives also denotes the height of our Lord's pity, olive in the Greek signifying pity. The qualities of oil are such as to fit in to this mystical meaning. For it floats above all other liquids: and the Psalmist says, Your mercy is over all Your works. And early in the morning, He came again into the temple: i.e. to denote the giving and unfolding of His mercy, i.e. the now dawning light of the New Testament in the faithful, that is, in His temple. His returning early in the morning, signifies the new rise of grace. BEDE. And next it is signified, that after He began to dwell by grace in His temple, i.e. in the Church, men from all nations would believe in Him: And all the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. ALCUIN. The sitting down, represents the humility of His incarnation. And the people came to Him, when He sat down, i.e. after taking up human nature, and thereby becoming visible, many began to hear and believe on Him, only knowing Him as their friend and neighbor. But while these kind and simple persons are full of admiration at our Lord's discourse, the Scribes and Pharisees put questions to Him, not for the sake of instruction, but only to entangle the truth in their nets: And the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say to Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, if the very act. AUG. They had remarked upon, Him already, as being over lenient. Of Him indeed it had I been prophesied, Ride on because of the word of truth, of meekness, and of righteousness. So as a teacher He exhibited truth, as a deliverer meekness, as a judge righteousness. When He spoke, His truth was acknowledged; when against His enemies He used no violence, His meekness was praised. So they raised the scandal on the score of justice For they said among themselves, If He decide to let her go He will not do justice; for the law cannot command what is unjust: Now Moses in the law commanded as, that such should be stoned: but to maintain His meekness, which has made Him already so acceptable to the people, He must decide to let her go. Wherefore they demand His opinion: And what say You? hoping to find an occasion to accuse Him, as a transgressor of the law: And this they said tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But our Lord in His answer both maintained His justice, and departed not from meekness. Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground. AUG. As if to signify that such persons were to be written in earth, not in heaven, where He told His disciples they should rejoice they were v written. Or His bowing His head (to write on the ground), is an expression of humility; the writing on the ground signifying that His law was written on the earth which bore fruit, not on the barren stone, as before. ALCUIN. The ground denotes the human heart, which yields the fruit either of good or of bad actions: the finger jointed and flexible, discretion. He instructs us then, when we see any faults in our neighbors, not immediately and rashly to condemn them, but after searching our own hearts to begin with, to examine them attentively with the finger of discretion. BEDE. His writing with His finger on the ground perhaps showed, that it was He who had written the law on stone.
So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up. AUG. He did not say, Stone her not, lest He should seem to speak contrary to the law. But God forbid that He should say, Stone her; for He came not to destroy that which He found, but to seek that which was lost. What then did He answer? He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. This is the voice of justice. Let the sinner be punished, but not by sinners; the law carried into effect, but not by transgressors of the law. GREG. For he who judges not himself first, cannot know how to judge correctly in the case of another. For though He know what the offense is, from being told, yet He cannot judge of another's deserts, who supposing himself innocent, will not apply the rule of justice to himself. AUG. Having with the weapon of justice smitten them, He deigned not even to look on the fallen, but averted His eyes: And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. ALCUIN. This is like our Lord; while His eyes are fixed, and He seems attending to something else, He gives the bystanders an opportunity of retiring: a tacit admonition to us to consider always both before we condemn a brother for a sin, and after we have punished him, whether we are not guilty ourselves of the same fault, or others as bad. AUG. Thus smitten then with the voice of justice, as with a weapon, they examine themselves, find themselves guilty, and one by one retire: And they which heard it, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. GLOSS. The more guilty of them, perhaps, or those who were more conscious of their faults. AUG. There were left however two, the pitiable, and the pitiful, And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst: the woman, you may suppose, in great alarm, expecting punishment from one in whom no sin could be found. But He who had repelled her adversaries with there word of justice, lifted on her the eyes of mercy, and asked; When Jesus had lifted Himself up, and saw none but the woman, He said to her, Woman, where are these your accusers? Has no man condemned you? She said, No man, Lord. We heard above the voice of justice; let us hear now that of mercy: Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you; I, who you feared would condemn you, because You found no fault in me. What then Lord? Do You favor sin? No, surely. Listen to what follows, Go, and sin no more. So then our Lord condemned sin, but not the sinner. For did He favor sin, He would have said, Go, and live as you will: depend on my deliverance: howsoever great your sins be, it matters not: I will deliver you from hell, and its tormentors. But He did not say this. Let those attend, who love the Lord's mercy, and fear His truth. Truly, Gracious and righteous is the Lord.
drb › John › 8 › Verse 1 through 11
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 5:25-26
AUG. Some one might ask you, The Father quickens him who believes in Him; but what of you? do you not quicken? Observe you that the Son also quickens whom He will; Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. CHRYS. After, The hour comes, He adds, and now is; to let us know that it will not be long before it comes. For as in the future resurrection we shall be roused by hearing His voice speaking to us, so is it now. THEOPHYL. Here He speaks with a reference to those whom He was about to raise from the dead: viz. the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, the son of the widow, and Lazarus. AUG. Or, He means to guard against our thinking, that the being passed from death to life, refers to the future resurrection; its meaning being, that he who believes is passed: and therefore He says, Verily, verily, I say to you, The hour comes, (what hour?) and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. He said not, because they live, they hear; but in consequence of hearing, they come to life again. But what is hearing, but obeying? For they who believe and do according to the true faith, live, and are not dead; whereas those who believe not, or, believing, live a bad life, and have not love, are rather to be accounted dead. And yet that hour is still going on, and will go on, the same hour, to the end of the world: as John says, It is the last hour. AUG. When the dead, i.e. unbelievers, shall hear the voice of the Son of God, i.e. the Gospel: and they that hear, i.e. who obey, shall live, i.e. be justified, and no longer remain in unbelief. AUG. But some one will ask, Has the Son life, whence those who believe will fire? Hear His own words: As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. Life is original and absolute in Him, comes from no other source, depends on no other power. He is not as if He were partaker of a life, which is not Himself; but has life in Himself: so as that He Himself is His own life. Hear, O dead soul, the Father, speaking by the Son: arise, that you may receive that life which you have not in yourself, and enter into the first resurrection. For this life, which the Father and the Son are, pertains to the soul, and is not perceived by the body. The rational mind only discovers the life of wisdom. HILARY. The heretics, driven hard by Scripture proofs, are obliged to attribute to the Son at any rate a likeness, in respect of virtue, to the Father. But they do not admit a likeness of nature, not being able to see that a likeness of virtue, could not arise but from a likeness of nature; as an inferior nature can never attain to the virtue of a higher and better one. And it cannot be denied that the Son of God has the same virtue with the Father, when He says, What things soever (the Father) does, the same does the Son likewise. But an express mention of the likeness of nature follows: As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. In life are comprehended nature and essence. And the Son, as He has it, so has He it given to Him. For the same which is life in both, is essence in both; and the life, i.e. essence, which is begotten from life, is born; though not born unlike the other. For, being life from life, it remains like in nature to its origin. AUG. The Father must he understand not to have given life to the Son, who was existing without life, but so to have begotten Him, independently of time, that the life which He gave Him in begetting, was co-eternal with His own. HILARY. Living born from living, has the perfection of nativity, without the newness of nature. For there is nothing new implied in generation from living to living, the life not coming at its birth from nothing. And the life which derives its birth from life, must by the unity of nature, and the sacrament of a perfect birth, both be in the living being, and have the being who lives it, in itself. Weak human nature indeed is made up of unequal elements, and brought to life out of inanimate matter; nor does the human offspring live for some time after it is begotten. Neither does it wholly live from life, since much grows up in it insensibly, and decays insensibly. But in the case of God, the whole of what He is, lives: for God is life, and from life, can nothing be but what is living. AUG. Given to the Son, then, has the meaning of, begat the Son; for He gave Him tines life, by begetting. As He gave Him being, so He gave Him to have life in Himself; so that the Son did not stand in need of life to come to Him from without; but was in Himself the fullness of life, whence others, i.e. believers, received their life. What then is the difference between Them? This that one gave, the other received. CHRYS The likeness is perfect in all but one respect, viz. that, in point of essence, one is the Father, the other the Son. HILARY. For the person of the receiver, is distinct from that of the giver: it being inconceivable that one and the same person, should give to and receive from Himself. He who lives of Himself is one person: He who acknowledges an Author of His life is another.
drb › John › 5 › Verse 25 through 26
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 5:27-29
THEOPHYL. The Father granted the Son power not only to give life, but also to execute judgment. And has given Him authority to execute judgment. CHRYS. But why does He dwell so constantly on these subjects; judgment, resurrection, and life? Because these are the most powerful arguments for bringing men over to the faith, and the most likely ones to prevail with obstinate hearers. For one who is persuaded that he shall rise again, and be called by the Son to account for his misdeeds, will, though he know nothing more than this, be anxious to propitiate his Judge. It follows, Because He is the Son of man, marvel not at this. Paul of Samosata reads it, Has given Him power to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. But this connection has no meaning; for He does not receive the power to judge because He is man, (as, on this supposition, what would prevent all men from being judges:) but because He is the ineffable Son of God; therefore is He Judge. We must read it then, Because He is the Son of man, marvel not at this. As Christ's hearers thought him a mere man, and as what He asserted of Himself was too high to be true of men, or even angels, or any being short of God Himself, there was a strong obstacle in the way of their believing, which our Lord notices in order to remove it: Marvel not, He says, that He is the Son of man: and then adds the reason why they should not marvel: For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And why did He not say, Marvel not that He is the Son of man: because in truth He is the Son of God? Because, having given out that it was He who should raise men from the dead, the resurrection being a strictly divine work, He leaves His hearers to infer that He is God, and the Son of God. Persons in arguing often do this. When they have brought out grounds amply sufficient to prove the conclusion they want, they do not draw that conclusion themselves; but, to make the victory greater; leave the opponent to draw it. In referring above to the resurrection of Lazarus and the rest, he said nothing about judgment, for Lazarus did not rise again for judgment; whereas now, that He is speaking of the general resurrection, He brings in the mention of the judgment: And (they) shall come forth, He says, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. Having said above, He that hears My words, and believe in Him that sent Me, has everlasting life; that men might not suppose from this, that belief was sufficient for salvation, He proceeds to speak of works: And they that have done good, - and they that have done evil. AUG. Or thus: Inasmuch as the Word was in the beginning with God, the Father gave Him to have life in Himself; but inasmuch as the Word w as made flesh of the Virgin Mary, being made man, He became the Son of man: and as the Son of man, He received power to execute judgment at the end of the world; at which time the bodies of the dead shall rise again. The souls then of the dead God raises by Christ the Son of God, their bodies by the same Christ, the Son of man. Wherefore He adds, Because He is the Son of man: for, as to the Son of God, He always had the power. AUG. At the judgment will appear the form of man, that form will judge, which was judged; He will sit a Judge Who stood before the judge; He will condemn the guilty, Who was condemned innocent. For it is proper that the judged should see their Judge. Now the judged consist of both good and bad; so that the form of the servant will be strewn to good and bad alike; the form of God to the good only. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. AUG. None if the, founders of false religious sects have been able to deny the resurrection of the soul, but many have denied the resurrection of the body; and, unless You, Lord Jesus, had declared it, what answer could we give the gainsayer? To set forth this truth, He says, Marvel not at this; (i.e. that He has given power to the Son of man to execute judgment,) for the hour is coming, &c. AUG. He does not add, And now is, here; because this hour would be at the end of the world. Marvel not, i.e. marvel not, men will all be judged by a man. But what men? Not those only, whom He will find alive, For the hour comes, in which all that are in their graves shall hear His voice. AUG. What can be plainer? Men's bodies are in their graves, not their souls. Above when He said, The hour comes, and added, and now is; He proceeds, When the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. He does not say, All the dead; for by the dead are meant the wicked, and the wicked have not all been brought to obey the Gospel But in the end of the world all that are in their graves shall hear His voice, and come forth. He does not say, Shall live, as He said above, when He spoke of the eternal and blessed life; which all will not have, who shall come forth from their graves. This judgment was committed to Him because He was the Son of man. But what takes place in this judgment? They that have done good shall go to the resurrection of life, i.e. to live with the Angels of God; they that have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. Judgment here meaning damnation.
drb › John › 5 › Verse 27 through 29
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 5:21-23
AUG, Having said that the Father would show the Son greater works than these, He proceeds to describe these greater works: For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will. These are plainly greater works, for it is more of a miracle that a dead man should rise again, than that a sick mall should recover. We must not understand from the words, that some are raised by the Father, others by the Son; but that the Son raises to life the same whom the Father raises. And to guard against any one saying, The Father raises the dead by the Son, the former by His own power, the latter, like an instrument, by another power, He asserts distinctly the power of the Son: The Son quickens whom he will. Observe here not only the power of the Son, but also His will. Father and Son have the same power and will. The Father wills nothing distinct from the Son; but both have the same will, even as they have the same substance. HILARY. For to will is the free power of a nature, which by the act of choice, rests in the blessedness of perfect excellence. AUG. But who are these dead, whom the Father and Son raise to life? He alludes to the general resurrection which is to be; not to the resurrection of those few, who were raised to life, that the rest might believe; as Lazarus, who rose again, to die afterwards. Having said then, For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them, to prevent our taking the words to refer to the dead whom He raised up for the sake of the miracle, and not to the resurrection to life eternal, He adds, For the Father judges no man; thus showing that He spoke of that resurrection of the dead which would take place at the judgment. Or the words, As the Father raises up the dead, &c. refer to the resurrection of the soul; For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son, to the resurrection of the body. For the resurrection of the soul takes place by the substance of the Father and the Son, and therefore it is the work of the Father and the Son together: but the resurrection of the body takes place by a dispensation of the Son's humanity, which is a temporal dispensation, and not co-eternal with the Father. But see how the Word of Christ leads the mind in different directions, not allowing it any carnal resting place; but by variety of motion exercising it, by exercise purifying it, by purifying enlarging its capacity, and after enlarging filling it. He said just before that the Father showed what things soever He did to the Son. So I saw, as it were, the Father working, and the Son waiting: now again I see the Son working, the Father resting. AUG. For this, viz. that the Father has given all judgment to the Son, does not mean that He begat the Son with this attribute, as is meant in the: words, So has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. For if so, it would not be said, The Father judges no man, because, in that the Father begat the Son equal, He judges with the Son. What is meant is, that in the judgment, not the form of God but the form of the Son of man will appear; not because He will not judge Who has given all judgment to the Son; since the Son says of Him below, There is one that seeks and judges, but the Father judges no man; i.e. no one will see Him in the judgment, but all will see the Son, because He is the Son of man, even the ungodly who will look on Him Whom they pierced. HILARY. Having said that the Son quickens whom He will, in order that we might not lose sight of the nativity, and think that He stood upon the ground of His own unborn power, He immediately adds, For the Father judges no man, but has given all judgment to the Son. In that all judgment is given to Him, both His nature, and His nativity are shown; because only a self-existent nature can possess all things, and nativity cannot have any thing, except what is given it. CHRYS. As He gave Him life, i.e. begot Him living; so He gave Him judgment, i.e. begot Him a judge. Gave, it is said, that you may not think Him unbegotten, and imagine two Fathers: All judgment, because He has the awarding; both of punishment and reward. HILARY. All judgment is given to Him, because He quickens whom He will. Nor can the judgment be looked on as taken away from the Father, inasmuch as the cause of His not judging is, that the judgment of the Son is His. For all judgment is given from the Father. And the reason for which He gives it, appears immediately after: That all men may honor the Son even as you honor the Father. CHRYS. For, lest you should infer from hearing that the Author of His power was the Father, any difference of substance, or inequality of honor, He connects the honor of the Son with the honor of the Father, showing that both have the same. But shall men then call Him the Father? God forbid; he who calls Him the Father, does not honor the Son equally with the Father, but confounds both. AUG. First indeed, the Son appeared as a servant, and the Father was honored as God. But the Son will be seen to be equal to the Father, that all men may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. But what if persons are found, who honor the Father, and do not honor the Son? It cannot be: He that honors not the Son, honors not the Father which has sent Him. It is one thing to acknowledge God, as God; and another to acknowledge Him as the Father. When you acknowledge God the Creator, you acknowledge an almighty, supreme, eternal, invisible, immutable Spirit. When you acknowledge the Father, you do in reality acknowledge the Son; for He could not be the Father, had He not the Son. But if you honor the Father as greater, the Son as less, so far as you gives less honor to the Son, you take away from the honor of the Father. For you in reality think that the Father could not or would not beget the Son equal to Himself; which if He would not do, He was envious, if He could not, He was weak. Or, That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father; has a reference to the resurrection of souls, which is the work of the Son, as well as of the Father. But the resurrection of the body is meant in what comes after: He that honors not the Son honors not the Father that sent Him. Here is no as; the man Christ is honored, but not as the Father Who sent Him, since with respect to His manhood He Himself says, My Father is greater than I. But some one will say, if the Son is sent by the Father, He is inferior to the Father. Leave your fleshly actions, and understand a mission, not a separation. Human things deceive, divine things make clear; although even human things give testimony against you, e.g. if a man offers marriage to a woman, and cannot obtain her by himself, he sends a friend, greater than himself; to urge his suit for him. But see the difference in human things. A man does not go with him whom he sends; but the Father Who sent the Son, never ceased to be with the Son; as we read, I am not alone, but the Father its with Me. AUG. It is not, however, as being born of the Father, that the Son is said to be sent, but from His appearing in this world, as the Word made flesh; as He says, I went forth from the Father, and am come into the world: or from His being received into our minds individually, as we read, Send her, that she may be with me, and may labor with me. HILARY. The conclusion then stands good against all the fury of heretical minds. He is the Son because He does nothing of Himself: He is God, because, whatsoever things the Father does, He does the same; They are one, because They are equal in honor: He is not the Father, because He is sent.
drb › John › 5 › Verse 21 through 23
Score: 1.00Commentary for John 1:24-28
ORIGEN; The questions of the priests and Levites being answered, another mission comes from the Pharisees: And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. So far as it is allowable to form a conjecture from the discourse itself here, I should say that it was the third occasion of John's giving his witness. Observe the mildness of the former question, so befitting the priestly and levitical character, Who are you? There is nothing arrogant or disrespectful, but only what becomes true ministers of God. The Pharisees however, being a sectarian body, as their name implies, address the Baptist in an importunate and contumelious way. And they said, Why baptize you then, if you be not that Christ, neither Elias, neither that Prophet? not caring about information, but only wishing to prevent him baptizing. Yet the very next thing they did, was to come to John's baptism. The solution of this is, that they came not in faith, but hypocritically, because they feared the people. CHRYS. Or, those very same priests and Levies were of the Pharisees, and, because they could not undermine him by blandishments, began accusing, after they had compelled him to say what he was not. And they asked him, saying, Why baptize you then, if you are not the Christ, neither Elias, neither that Prophet? As if it were an act of audacity in him to baptize, when he was neither the Christ, nor His precursor, nor His proclaimer, i.e. that Prophet. GREG. A saint, even when perversely questioned, is never diverted from the pursuit of goodness. Thus John to the words of envy opposes the words of life: John answered them, saying, I indeed baptize with water. ORIGEN; For how would the question, Why then baptize you, be replied to in any other way, than by setting forth the carnal nature of his own baptism? GREG. John baptizes not with the Spirit, but with water; not being able to remit sins, he washes the bodies of the baptized with water, but not their souls with pardon. Why then cloth he baptize, when he cloth not remit sins by' baptism? To maintain his character of forerunner. As his birth preceded our Lord's, so cloth his baptism precede our Lord's baptism. And he who was the forerunner of Christ in His preaching, is forerunner also in His baptism, which was the imitation of that Sacrament. And withal he announces the mystery of our redemption, saying that He, the Redeemer, is standing in the midst of men, and they know it not: There stands one among you, whom you know not: for our Lord, when He appeared in the flesh, was visible in body, but in majesty invisible. CHRYS. One among you. It was fitting that Christ should mix with the people, and be one of the many, showing every where His humility. Whom you know not; i.e. not, in the most absolute and certain sense; not, who He is, and whence He is. AUG. In His low estate He was not seen; and therefore the candle was; lighted. THEOPHYL. Or it was, that our Lord was in the midst of the Pharisees; and they not knowing Him. For they thought that they knew the Scriptures, and therefore, inasmuch as our Lord was pointed out there, He was in the midst of them, i.e. in their hearts. But they knew Him not, inasmuch as they understood not the Scriptures. Or take another interpretation. He was in the midst of them, as mediator between God and man, wishing to bring them, the Pharisees, to God. But they knew Him not. ORIGEN; Or thus; Having said, I indeed baptize with water,. in answer to the question, Why baptize you then? - to the next, If you be not Christ? he replies by declaring the preexistent substance of Christ; that it was of such virtue, that though His Godhead was invisible, He was present to every one, and pervaded the whole world; as is conveyed in the words; There stands one among you. For He it is, Who has diffused Himself through the whole system of nature, insomuch that every thing which is created, is created by Him; All things were made by Him. Whence it is evident that even those who inquired of John, Why baptize you then? had Him among them. Or, the words, There stands one among you, are to be understood of mankind generally. For, from our character as rational beings, it follows that the word g exists in the center of us, because the heart, which is the spring of motion within us, is situated in the center of the body. Those then who carry the word within them, but are ignorant of its nature, and the source and beginning and the way in which it resides in them; these, hearing the word within them, know it not. But John recognized Him, and reproached the Pharisees, saying, Whom you know now not. For, though expecting Christ's coming, the Pharisees had formed no lofty conception of Him, but supposed that He would only be a holy man: wherefore he briefly refutes their ignorance, and the false ideas that they had of His excellence. He said, stand; for as the Father stands, i.e. exists without variation or change, so stands the Word ever in the work of salvation, though It assume flesh, though It be in the midst of men, though It stand invisible. Lest any one however should think that the invisible One Who comes to all men, and to the universal world, is different from Him Who was made man, and appeared on the earth, he adds, He that comes after me, i.e. Who will appear after me. The after however here has not the same meaning that it has, when Christ calls us after Him; for there we are told to follow after Him, that by treading in His steps, we may attain to the Father; but here the word is used to intimate what should follow upon John's teaching; for he came that all may believe, having by his ministry been fitted gradually by lesser things, for the reception of the perfect Word. Therefore he said, He it is Who comes after me. CHRYS. As if he said, Do not think that every thing is contained in my baptism; for if my baptism were perfect, another would not come after me with another baptism. This baptism of mine is but an introduction to the other, and will soon pass away, like a shadow, or an image. There is One coming after me to establish the truth: and therefore this is not a perfect baptism; for, if it were, there would be no room for a second: and therefore he adds, Who is made before me: i.e. is more honorable, more lofty. GREG. Made before me, i.e. preferred before me. He comes after me, that is, He is born after me; He is made before me, that is, He is preferred to me. CHRYS. But lest you should think this to be the result of comparison, he immediately shows it to be a superiority beyond all comparison; Whose shoe latchet I am not worthy to unloose: as if He said, He is so much before me, that I am unworthy to be numbered among the lowest of His attendants: the unloosing of the sandal being the very lowest kind of service. AUG. To have pronounced himself worthy even of unloosing His shoe's latchet, he would have been thinking too much of himself. GREG. Or thus: It was a law of the old dispensation, that, if a man refused to take the woman, who of right came to him, to wife, he who by right of relationship came next to be the husband, should unloose his shoe. Now in what character did Christ appear in the world, but as Spouse of the Holy Church? John then very properly pronounced himself unworthy to unloose this shoe's latchet: as if he said, I cannot uncover the feet of the Redeemer, for I claim not the title of spouse, which I have no right to. Or the passage may be explained in another way. We know that shoes are made out of dead animals. Our Lord then, when He came in the flesh, put on, as it were, shoes; because in His Divinity He took the flesh of our corruption, wherein we had of ourselves perished. And the latchet of the shoe, is the seal upon the mystery. John is not able to unloose the shoe's latchet; i.e. even he cannot penetrate into the mystery of the Incarnation. So he seems to say: What wonder that He is preferred before me, Whom, being born after me, I contemplate, yet the mystery of Whose birth I comprehend not. ORIG. The place has been understood not amiss thus by a certain person; I am not of such importance, as that for my sake He should descend from this high abode, and take flesh upon Him, as it were a shoe. CHRYS. John having preached the thing concerning Christ publicly and With becoming liberty, the Evangelist mentions the place of His preaching: These things were done in Bethany beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. For it was in no house or corner that John preached Christ, but beyond Jordan, in the midst of a multitude, and in the presence of all whom He had baptized. Some copies read more correctly Bethabara: for Bethany was not beyond Jordan, or in the desert, but near Jerusalem. GLOSS; Or we must suppose two Bethanies; one over Jordan, the other on this side, not far from Jerusalem, the Bethany where Lazarus was raised from the dead. CHRYS. He mentions this too for another reason, viz. that as He was relating events which had only recently happened, He might, by a reference to the place, appeal to the testimony of those who were present and saw them. ALCUIN. The meaning of Bethany is, house of obedience; by which it is intimated to us, that all must approach to baptism, through the obedience of faith. ORIG. Bethabara means house of preparation; which agrees with the baptism of Him, who was making ready a people prepared for the Lord. Jordan, again, means, "their crescent." Now what is this river but our Savior, through Whom coming into this earth all must be cleansed, in that He came down not for His own sake, but for theirs. This river it is which separates the lots given by Moses, from those given by Jesus; its streams make glad the city of God. As the serpent lies hid in the Egyptian river, so does God in this; for the Father is in the Son. Wherefore whosoever go thither to wash themselves, lay aside the reproach of Egypt, are made meet to receive the inheritance, are cleansed form leprosy, are made capable of a double portion of grace, and ready to receive the Holy Spirit; nor does the spiritual dove light upon any other river. John again baptizes beyond Jordan, as the precursor of Him Who came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
drb › John › 1 › Verse 24 through 28