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

Wednesday, July 6: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 3, 2011

Ver 1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3. Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the Publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;4. Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

Gloss. ord.: From the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother to this place there has been a continued succession of miracles; and they were done before the Sermon upon the Mount, as we know for certain from Matthew’s call, which is placed among them; for he was one of the twelve chosen to the Apostleship upon the mount. He here returns to the order of events, taking it up again at the healing of the centurion’s servant; saying, “And calling to him his twelve disciples.”

Remig.: The Evangelist had related above that the Lord exhorted His disciples to pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into His vineyard; and He now seems to be fulfilling what He had exhorted them to. For the number twelve is a perfect number, being made up of the number six, which has perfection because it is formed of its own parts, one, two, three, multiplied into one another; and the number six when doubled amounts to twelve.

Gloss., see Greg. Hom. in Ev., xvii, 1: And this doubling seems to have some reference to the two precepts of charity, or to the two Testaments.

Bede: For the number twelve, which is made up of three into four, denotes that through the four quarters of the world they were to preach the faith of the holy Trinity.

Rabanus, and cf. Tertullian, cont. Marc. iv, 13: This number is typified by many things in the Old Testament; by the twelve sons of Jacob, by the twelve princes of the children of Israel, by the twelve running springs in Helim, by the twelve stones in Aaron’s breastplate, by the twelve loaves of the shew-bread, by the twelve spies sent by Moses, by the twelve stones of which the altar was made, by the twelve stones taken out of Jordan, by the twelve oxen which bare the brazen sea. Also in the New Testament, by the twelve stars in the bride’s crown, by the twelve foundations of Jerusalem which John saw, and her twelve gates.

Chrys.: He makes them confident not only by calling their ministry a sending forth to the harvest, but by giving them strength for the ministry; whence it follows, “He gave them power over all unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal every sickness and every disease.”

Remig.: Wherein is openly shewed that the multitude were troubled not with one single kind of affliction, but with many, and this was His pity for the multitude, to give His disciples power to heal and cleanse them.

Jerome: A kind and merciful Lord and Master does not envy His servants and disciples a share in His powers. As Himself had cured every sickness and disease, He imparted the same power to His Apostles. But there is a wide difference between having and imparting, between giving and receiving. Whatever He does He does with the power of a master, whatever they do it is with confession of their own weakness, as they speak, “In the name of Jesus rise and walk.” [Act_3:6]

A catalogue of the names of the Apostles is given, that all false Apostles might be excluded. “The names of the twelve Apostles are these; First, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother.” To arrange them in order according to their merit is His alone who searches the secrets of all hearts. But Simon is placed first, having the surname of Peter given to distinguish him from the other Simon surnamed Chananaeus, from the village of Chana in Galilee where the Lord turned the water into wine.

Rabanus, e Beda: The Greek or Latin ‘Petrus’ is the same as the Syriac Cephas, in both tongues the word is derived from a rock; undoubtedly that of which Paul speaks, “And that rock was Christ.” [1Co_10:4]

Remig., ap. Rabanus: There have been some who in this name Peter, which is Greek and Latin, have sought a Hebrew interpretation, and would have it to signify, ‘Taking off the shoe,’, ‘or unloosing,’ or ‘acknowledging.’ But those that say this are contradicted by the facts. First, that the Hebrew has no letter P, but uses PH instead. Thus Pilate they call, Philate. Secondly, that one of the Evangelists has used the word as an interpretation of Cephas; The Lord said, “Thou shalt be called Cephas,” [Joh_1:42] on which the Evangelist adds, “which being interpreted is Petrus.”

Simon in interpreted ‘obedient,’ for he obeyed the words of Andrew, and with him came to Christ, or because he obeyed the divine commands, and at one word of bidding followed the Lord. Or as some will have it, it is to be interpreted, ‘Laying aside grief,’ and, ‘hearing painful things;’ for that on the Lord’s resurrection he laid aside the grief he had for His death; and he heard sorrowful things when the Lord said to him, “Another shall gird thee, and shall carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” [Joh_21:18]“And Andrew his brother.”

Chrys.: This is no small honour (done to Peter), He places Peter from his merit, Andrew from the nobility he had in being the brother of Peter. Mark names Andrew next after the two heads, namely, Peter and John; but this one not so; for Mark has arranged them in order of dignity.

Remig.: Andrew is interpreted ‘manly;’ for as in Latin ‘virilis’ is derived from, ‘vir,’ so in Greek, Andrew is derived from Rightly is he called manly, who left all and followed Christ, and manfully persevered in His commands.

Jerome: The Evangelist couples the names throughout in pairs. So he puts together Peter and Andrew, brothers not so much according to the flesh as in spirit; James and John who left their father after the flesh to follow their true Father; “James the son of Zebedee and John his brother.” He calls him the son of Zebedee, to distinguish him from the other James the son of Alphaeus.

Chrys.: Observe that he does not place them according to their dignity; for to me John would seem to be greater not than others only, but even than his brother.

Remig.: James is interpreted ‘The supplanter,’ or ‘that supplanteth;’ for he not only supplanted the vices of the flesh, but even contemned the same flesh when Herod put him to death. John in interpreted ‘The grace of God,’ because he deserved before all to be loved by the Lord; whence also in the favour of His especial love, he leaned at supper in the Lord’s bosom.

“Philip and Bartholomew.” Philip is interpreted, ‘The mouth of a lamp,’ or ‘of lamps,’ because when he had been enlightened by the Lord, he straightway sought to communicate that light to his brother by the means of his mouth. Bartholomew is a Syriac, not a Hebrew, name, and is interpreted ‘The son of him that raiseth water,’ [ed. note: or some say, the son of Tolmai, or Ptolemy] that is, of Christ, who raises the hearts of His preachers from earthly to heavenly things, and hangs them there, that the more they penetrate heavenly things, the more they should steep and inebriate the hearts of their hearers with the drops of holy preaching.

“Thomas, and Matthew the Publican.”

Jerome: The other Evangelists in this pair of names put Matthew before Thomas; and do not add, “the Publican,” that they should not seem to throw scorn upon the Evangelist by bringing to mind his former life. But writing of himself he both puts Thomas first in the pair, and styles himself “the Publican;” because, “where sin hath abounded, there grace shall much more abound.” [Rom_5:20]

Remig.: Thomas is interpreted ‘an abyss,’ or ‘a twin,’ which in Greek is Didymus. Rightly is Didymus interpreted an abyss, for the longer he doubted the more deeply did he believe the effect of the Lord’s passion, and the mystery of His Divinity, which forced him to cry, “My Lord and my God.” [Joh_20:28] Matthew is interpreted, ‘given,’ because by the Lord’s bounty he was made an Evangelist of a Publican.

“James the son of Alphaeaus, and Thaddaeus.”

Rabanus, e Beda: This James is he who in the Gospels, and also in the Epistle to the Galatians, is called the Lord’s brother. For Mary the wife of Alphaeus was the sister of Mary the mother of the Lord; John the Evangelist calls her “Mary the wife of Cleophas,” probably because Cleophas and Alphaeus were the same person. Or Mary herself on the death of Alphaeus after the birth of James married Cleophas.

Remig.: It is well said, “the son of Alphaeus,” that is, ‘of the just,’ or ‘the learned;’ for he not only overthrew the vices of the flesh, but also despised all care of the same. And of what he was worthy the Apostles are witness, who ordained him Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem. [ed. note: Where St. James the son of Alphaeus is the same as the Bishop of Jerusalem is doubtful. Eusebius is cited on both sides the question; S. Epiphanius, S. Gregory Nyssen, Theodoret, and the Author of the Constitutions take the negative; so does S. Chrysostom, but qualifies his evidence elsewhere; S. Jerome varies. Other Fathers are in favour of their identity.] [margin note: Hegesippos. ap. Euseb. ii. 23]

And ecclesiastical history among other things tells of him, that he never ate flesh, drunk neither wine nor strong drink, abstained from the bath and linen garments, and night and day prayed on his bended knees. And so great was his merit, that he was called by all men, ‘The just.’

Thaddaeus is the same whom Luke calls Jude of James, (that is, the brother of James,) whose Epistle is read in the Church, in which he calls himself the brother of James.

Aug., De Cons. Evan., ii, 30: Some copies have Lebbaeus; but whoever prevented the same man from having two, or even three different names?

Remig.: Jude is interpreted ‘having confessed,’ because he confessed the Son of God.

Rabanus: Thaddeus or Lebbaeus is interpreted ‘a little heart,’ that is, a heart-worshipper.

“Simon Chananaeus, and Judas Scarioth, who also betrayed him.”

Jerome: Simon Chananaeus is the same who in the other Evangelist is called Zelotes. Chana signifies ‘Zeal.’ Judas is named Scarioth, either from the town in which he was born, or from the tribe of Issachar, a prophetic omen of his sin; for Issachar means ‘a booty,’ thus signifying the reward of the betrayer.

Remig.: Scarioth is interpreted ‘The memory of the Lord,’ because he followed the Lord; or ‘The memorial of death,’ because he plotted in his heart how he might betray the Lord to death; or ‘strangling,’ because he went and hanged himself. It should be known that there are two disciples of this name, who are types of all Christians; Jude the brother of James, of such as persevere in the confession of the faith; Jude Scarioth of such as leave the faith; and turn back again.

Gloss., non occ.: They are named two and two to express their union as yoke-fellows.

Aug., City of God, book xviii, ch. 49: These therefore He chose for His disciples, whom also He named Apostles, humbly born without honour, without learning, that whatever they should do that was great, it was He that should be in them and should do it. He had among them one that was evil, whom He should use in the accomplishment of His Passion, and who should be an example to His Church of suffering evil men.

Ambrose, Ambrosiaster, in Luc. 6: He was not chosen among the Apostles unwittingly; for that truth is great, which cannot be harmed even by having an adversary in one of its own ministers.

Rabanus: Also He willed to be betrayed by a disciple, that you when betrayed by your intimate might bear patiently that your judgment has erred, that your favours have been thrown away.

Ver 5. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.7. And as ye go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Gloss., non occ.: Because the manifestation of the Spirit, as the Apostle speaks, is given for the profit of the Church, after bestowing His power on the Apostles, He sends them that they may exercise this power for the good of others; “These twelve Jesus sent forth.”

Chrys.: Observe the propriety of the time in which they are sent. After they had seen the dead raised, the sea rebuked, and other like wonders, and had both in word and deed sufficient proof of His excellent power, then He sends them.

Gloss., non occ.: When He sends them, He teaches them whither they should go, what they should preach, and what they should do. And first, whither they should go; “Giving them commandment, and saying, Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go ye rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Jerome: This passage does not contradict the command which He gave afterwards, “Go and teach all nations;” for this was before His resurrection, that was after. And it behoved the coming of Christ to be preached to the Jews first, that they might not have any just plea, or say that they were rejected of the Lord, who sent the Apostles to the Gentiles and Samaritans.

Chrys.: Also they were sent to the Jews first, in order that being trained in Judaea, as in a palaestra, they might enter on the arena of the world to contend; thus He taught them like weak nestlings to fly.

Greg., Hom. in Ev., iv. 1: Or He would be first preached to Judaea and afterwards to the Gentiles, in order that the preaching of the Redeemer should seem to seek out foreign lands only because it had been rejected in His own. There were also at that time some among the Jews who should be called, and among the Gentiles some who were not to be called, as being unworthy of being renewed to life, and yet not deserving of the aggravated punishment which would ensue upon their rejection of the Apostles’ preaching.

Hilary: The promulgation of the Law deserved also the first preaching of the Gospel; and Israel was to have less excuse for its crime, as it had experienced more care in being warned.

Chrys.: Also that they should not suppose that they were hated of Christ because they had reviled Him, and branded Him as daemoniac, He sought first their cure, and withholding His disciples from all other nations, He sent this people physicians and teachers; and not only forbid them to preach to any others before the Jews, but would not that they should so much as approach the way that led to the Gentiles; “Go not into the way of the Gentiles.” And because the Samaritans, though more readily disposed to be converted to the faith, were yet at enmity with the Jews, He would not suffer the Samaritans to be preached to before the Jews.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: The Samaritans were Gentiles who had been settled in the land of Israel by the king of Assyria after the captivity which he made. They had been driven by many terrors to turn to Judaism, and had received circumcision and the five books of Moses, but renouncing everything else; hence there was no communication between the Jews and the Samaritans.

Chrys.: From these then He diverts his disciples, and sends them to the children of Israel, whom He calls “perishing” sheep, not straying; in every way contriving an apology for them, and drawing them to Himself.

Hilary: Though they are here called sheep, yet they raged against Christ with the tongues and throats of wolves and vipers.

Jerome: Figuratively, herein we who bear the name of Christ are commanded not to walk in the way of the Gentiles, or the error of the heretics, but as we are separate in religion, that we be also separate in our life.

Gloss., non occ.: Having told them to whom they should go, He now introduces what they should preach; “Go and preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Rabanus: The kingdom of heaven is here said to draw nigh by the faith in the unseen Creator which is bestowed upon us, not by any movement of the visible elements. The saints are rightly denoted by the heavens, because they contain God by faith, and love Him with affection.

Chrys.: Behold the greatness of their ministry, behold the dignity of the Apostles. They are not to preach of any thing that can be an object of sense, as Moses and the Prophets did; but things new and unlooked for; those preached earthly goods, but these the kingdom of heaven and all the goods that are there.


2 Responses to “Wednesday, July 6: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7)”

  1. […] Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 10:1-7). […]

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