The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:51-56)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 28, 2010

Ver 51. And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,52. And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.53. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.54. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?55. But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, you know not what manner of spirit you are of.56. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

CYRIL; When the time was near at hand in which it behoved our Lord to accomplish His-life-giving Passion, and ascend up to heaven, He determines to go up to Jerusalem, as it is said, And it came to pass, &c.

TIT. BOST. Because it was necessary that the true Lamb should there be offered, where the typical lamb was sacrificed; but it is said, he steadfastly set his face, that is, He went not here and there traversing the villages and towns, but kept on His way straight towards Jerusalem.

THEOPHYL; Let then the Heathen cease to mock the Crucified, as if He were a man, who it is plain, as God, both foresaw the time of His crucifixion, and going voluntarily to be crucified, sought with steadfast face, that is, with resolute and undaunted mind, the spot where He was to be crucified.

CYRIL; And He sends messengers to make a place for Him and His companions, who when they came to the country of the Samaritans were not admitted, as it follows, And sent messengers before his face; and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him.

AMBROSE; Mark that He was unwilling to be received by those who He knew had not turned to Him with a simple heart. For if He had wished, He might have made them devout, who were undevout. But God calls those whom He thinks worthy, and whom He wills He makes religious. But why they did not receive Him the Evangelist mentions, saying, Because his face was as if he would go to Jerusalem.

THEOPHYL. But if one understands that they did not receive Him for this reason, because He had determined to go to Jerusalem, an excuse is found for them, who did not receive Him. But we must say, that in the words of the Evangelist, And they did not receive him, is implied that He did not go into Samaria, but afterwards as if some one had asked Him, He explained in these words, why they did not receive Him. And He went not to them, i.e. not that He was unable, but that He did not wish to go there but rather to Jerusalem.

THEOPHYL; Or the Samaritans see that our Lord is going to Jerusalem, and do not receive Him. For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, as John shows.

CYRIL; But our Lord, Who knew all things before they came to pass, knowing that His messengers would not be received by the Samaritans, nevertheless commanded them to go before Him, because it was His practice to make all things conduce to the good of His disciples. Now He went up to Jerusalem as the time of His suffering drew near. In order then that they might not be offended, when they saw Him suffer, bearing in mind that they must also endure patiently when men persecute them, He ordained beforehand as a land of prelude this refusal of the Samaritans.

It was good for them also in another way. For they were to be the teachers of the world, going through towns and villages, to preach the doctrine of the Gospel, meeting sometimes with men who would not receive the sacred doctrine, allowing not that Jesus sojourned on earth with them. He therefore taught them, that in announcing the divine doctrine, they ought to be filled with patience and meekness, without bitterness, and wrath, and fierce enmity against those who had done any wrong to them.

But as yet they were not so, nay, being stirred up with fervid zeal, they wished to bring down fire from heaven upon them. It follows, And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, will you that we command fire to come down from heaven, &c.

AMBROSE; For they knew both that when Phineas had slain the idolaters it was counted to him for righteousness; and that at the prayer of Elijah fire came down from heaven, that the injuries of the prophet might be avenged.

THEOPHYL; For holy men who well knew that that death which detaches the soul from the body was not to be feared, still because of their feelings who feared it, punished some sins with death, that both the living might be struck with a wholesome dread, and those who were punished with death might receive helm not from death itself but from sin, which would be increased were they to live.

AMBROSE; But let him be avenged who fears. He who fears not, seeks not vengeance. At the same time the merits of the Prophets are likewise shown to have been in the Apostles, seeing that they claim to themselves the right of obtaining the same power of which the Prophet was thought worthy; and fitly do they claim that at their command fire should come down from heaven, for they were the sons of thunder.

TIT. BOST. They thought it much juster that the Samaritans should perish for not admitting our Lord, than the fifty soldiers who tried to thrust down Elijah.

AMBROSE; But the Lord is not moved against them, that He might show that perfect virtue has no feeling of revenge, nor is there any anger where there is fullness of love. For weakness must not be thrust out; but assisted. Let indignation be far from the religious, let the high-souled have no desire of vengeance. Hence it follows, But he turned and rebuked them, and said, you know not what manner of spirit you are of.

THEOPHYL; The Lord blames them, not for following the example of the holy Prophet, but for their ignorance in taking vengeance while they were yet inexperienced, perceiving that they did not desire correction from love, but vengeance from hatred. After that He had taught them what it was to love their neighbor as themselves, and the Holy Ghost also had been infused into them, there were not lacking these punishments, though far less frequent than in the Old Testament, because the Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. As if He said, And do you therefore who are sealed with His Spirit, imitate also His actions, now determining charitably, hereafter judging justly.

AMBROSE; For we must not always punish the offender, since mercy sometimes does more good, leading you to patience, the sinner to repentance. Lastly, those Samaritans believed the sooner, who were in this place saved from fire.

4 Responses to “Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:51-56)”

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  3. […] Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 9:51-62. […]

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