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

Tuesday, July 5: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:32-38)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 3, 2011

Ver 32. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, “It was never so seen in Israel.”34. But the Pharisees said, “He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.”35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Remig.: Observe the beautiful order of His miracles; how after He had given sight to the blind, He restored speech to the dumb, and healed the possessed of the daemon; by which He shews Himself the Lord of power, and the author of the heavenly medicine. For it was said by Isaiah, “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, and the tongue of the dumb loosed.” [Isa_35:6]

Whence it is said, “When they were gone forth, they brought unto him a man dumb, and possessed with a daemon.”

Jerome: The Greek word here is more frequent in common speech in the sense of, ‘deaf,’ but it is the manner of Scripture to use it indifferently as either.

Chrys.: This was not a mere natural defect; but was from the malignity of the daemon; and therefore he needed to be brought of others, for he could not ask any thing of others as living without voice, and the daemon chaining his spirit together with his tongue. Therefore Christ does not require faith of him, but immediately healed his disorder; as it follows, “And when the daemon was cast out, the dumb spake.”

Hilary: The natural order of things is here preserved; the daemon is first cast out, and there the functions of the members proceed.  “And the multitude marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.”

Chrys: They set Him thus above others, because He not only healed, but with such ease, and quickness; and cured diseases both infinite in number, and in quality incurable. This most grieved the Pharisees, that they set Him before all others, not only those that then lived, but all who had lived before, on which account it follows, “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out daemons through the Prince of daemons.”

Remig.: Thus the Scribes and Pharisees denied such of the Lord’s miracles as they could deny; and such as they could not they explained by an evil interpretation, according to that, “In the multitude of they excellency thy enemies shall lie unto thee.” [Psa_66:3]

Chrys.: What can be more foolish than this speech of theirs? For it cannot be pretended that one daemon would cast out another; for they are wont to consent to one another’s deeds, and not to be at variance among themselves. But Christ not only cast out daemons, but healed the lepers, raised the dead, forgave sins, preached the kingdom of God, and brought men to the Father, which a daemon neither could nor would do.

Rabanus: Figuratively; As is the two blind men were denoted both nations, Jews and Gentiles, so in the man dumb and afflicted with the daemon is denoted the whole human race.

Hilary: Or; By the dumb and deaf, and daemoniac, is signified the Gentile world, needing health in every part; for sunk in evil of every kind, they are afflicted with disease of every part of the body.

Remig.: For the Gentiles were dumb; not being able to open their mouth in the confession of the true faith, and the praises of the Creator, or because in paying worship to dumb idols they were made like unto them. They were afflicted with a daemon, because by dying in unbelief they were made subject to the power of the Devil.

Hilary: But by the knowledge of God the frenzy of superstition being chased away, the sight, the hearing, and the word of salvation is brought in to them.

Jerome: As the blind receive light, so the tongue of the dumb is loosed, that he may confess Him whom before he denied. The wonder of the multitude is the confession of the nations. The scoff of the Pharisees is the unbelief of the Jews, which is to this day.

Hilary: The wonder of the multitude is followed up by the confession, “It was never so seen in Israel;” because he, for whom there was no help under the Law, is saved by the power of the Word.

Remig.: They who brought the dumb to be healed by the Lord, signify the Apostles and preachers, who brought the Gentile people to be saved before the face of divine mercy.

Aug., De Cons. Evan. ii, 29: This account of the two blind men and the dumb daemon is read in Matthew only. The two blind men of whom the others speak are not the same as these, though something similar was done with them. So that even if Matthew had not also recorded their cure, we might have seen that this present narrative was of a different transaction. And this we ought diligently to remember, that many actions of our Lord are very much like one another, but are proved not to be the same action, by being both related at different times by the same Evangelist. So that when we find cases in which one is recorded by one Evangelist, and another by another, and some difference which we cannot reconcile between their accounts, we should suppose that they are like, but not the same, events.

Ver 36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.37. Then saith he unto his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;38. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
Chrys.: The Lord would refute by actions the charge of the Pharisees, who said, “He casteth out daemons by the “Prince of the daemons;” for a daemon having suffered rebuke, does not return good but evil to those who have not shewn him honour. But the Lord on the other hand, when He had suffered blasphemy and contumely, not only does not punish, but does not utter a hard speech, yea He shews kindness to them that did it, as it here follows, “And Jesus went about all their towns and villages.”

Herein He teaches us not to return accusations to them that accuse us, but kindness. For he that ceases to do good because of accusation, shews that his good has been done because of men. But if for God’s sake you do good to your fellow-servants, you will not cease from doing good whatever they do, that your reward may be greater.

Jerome: Observe how equally in villages, cities, and towns, that is to great as well as small, He preaches the Gospel, not respecting the might of the noble, but the salvation of those that believe. It follows, “Teaching in their synagogues;” this was His meat, going about to do the will of His Father, and saving by His teaching such as yet believed not.

Gloss., non occ.: He taught in their synagogues the Gospel of the Kingdom, as it follows, “Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom.”

Remig.: Understand, ‘of God;’ for though temporal blessings are also proclaimed, yet they are not called The Gospel. Hence the Law was not called a Gospel, because to such as kept it, it held out not heavenly, but earthly, goods.

Jerome: He first preached and taught, and then proceeded to heal sicknesses, that the works might convince those who would not believe the words. Hence it follows, “Healing every sickness and every disease,” for to Him alone nothing is impossible.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: By “disease” we may understand complaints of long standing, by “sickness” any lesser infirmity.

Remig.: It should be known that those whom He healed outwardly in their bodies, He also healed inwardly in their souls. Others cannot do this of their own power, but can by God’s grace.

Chrys.: Nor does Christ’s goodness rest here, but He manifests His care for them, opening the bowels of His mercy towards them; whence it follows, “And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion upon them.”

Remig.: Herein Christ shews in Himself the disposition of the good shepherd and not that of the hireling. Why He pitied them is added, “because there were troubled, and sick as sheep that have no shepherd — troubled either by daemons, or by divers sicknesses and infirmities.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: Or, “troubled,” by daemons, and “sick,” that is, benumbed and unable to rise; as though they had shepherds, yet they were as though they had them not.

Chrys.: This is an accusation against the rulers of the Jews, that being shepherds they appeared like wolves; not only not improving the multitude, but hindering their progress. For when the multitude marvelled and said, “It was never so seen in Israel,” these opposed themselves, saying, “He casteth out daemons by the prince of daemons.”

Remig.: But when the Son of God looked down from heaven upon the earth, to hear the groans of the captives [Psa_102:19], straight a great harvest began to ripen; for the multitude of the human race would never have come near to the faith, had not the Author of human salvation looked down from heaven.

And it follows, “Then said he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few.”

Gloss., ap. Anselm: The harvest are those men who can be reaped by the preachers, and separated from the number of the damned, as grain is beaten out from the chaff that it may be laid up in granaries.

Jerome: The great harvest denotes the multitude of the people; the few labourers, the want of instructors.

Remig.: For the number of the Apostles was small in comparison of so great crops to be reaped. The Lord exhorts His preachers, that is, the Apostles and their followers, that they should daily desire an increase of their number; “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.”

Chrys.: He privately insinuates Himself to be the Lord; for it is He Himself who is Lord of the harvest. For if He sent the Apostles to reap what they had not sown, it is manifest that He sent them not to reap the things of others, but what He had sown by the Prophets. But since the twelve Apostles are the labourers, He said, “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he would send labourers into his harvest;” and notwithstanding He added none to their number, but rather He multiplied those twelve many times, not by increasing their numbers, but by giving them more abundant grace.

Remig.: Or, He then increased their number when He chose the seventy and two, and then when many preachers were made what time the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers.

Chrys.: He shews us that it is a great gift that one should have the power of rightly preaching, in that He tells them that they ought to pray for it. Also we are here reminded of the words of John concerning the threshing-floor, and the fan, the chaff, and the wheat.

Hilary: Figuratively; When salvation was given to the Gentiles, then all cities and towns were enlightened by the power and entrance of Christ, and escaped every former sickness and infirmity. The Lord pities the people troubled with the violence of the unclean Spirit, and sick under the burden of the Law, and having no shepherd at hand to bestow on them the guardianship of the Holy Spirit. But of that gift there was a most abundant fruit, whose plenty far exceeded the multitude of those that drank thereof; how many soever take of it, yet an inexhaustible supply remains; and because it is profitable that there should be many to minister it, He bids us ask the Lord of the harvest, that God would provide a supply of reapers for the ministration of that gift of the Holy Spirit which was made ready; for by prayer this gift is poured out upon us from God.

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2 Responses to “Tuesday, July 5: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:32-38)”

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