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Archive for February 19th, 2013

Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae on the Transfiguration of Christ

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 19, 2013

Question 45
Of Christ’s Transfiguration in Four Articles

We now consider Christ’s transfiguration; and here there are four points of inquiry:

(1) Whether it was fitting that Christ should be transfigured?

(2) Whether the clarity of the transfiguration was the clarity of glory?

(3) Of the witnesses of the transfiguration;

(4)  Of the testimony of the Father’s voice.

Article 1: Whether it was fitting that Christ should be transfigured?

Objection 1: It would seem that it was not fitting that Christ should be transfigured. For it is not fitting for a true body to be changed into various shapes [figuras], but only for an imaginary body. Now Christ’s body was not imaginary, but real, as stated above (Q[5], A[1]). Therefore it seems that it should not have been transfigured.

Objection 2: Further, figure is in the fourth species of quality, whereas clarity is in the third, since it is a sensible quality. Therefore Christ’s assuming clarity should not be called a transfiguration.

Objection 3: Further, a glorified body has four gifts, as we shall state farther on (XP, Q[82]), viz. impassibility, agility, subtlety, and clarity. Therefore His transfiguration should not have consisted in an assumption of clarity rather than of the other gifts.

On the contrary, It is written (Matthew 17:2) that Jesus “was transfigured” in the presence of three of His disciples.

I answer that Our Lord, after foretelling His Passion to His disciples, had exhorted them to follow the path of His sufferings (Matthew 16:21,24). Now in order that anyone go straight along a road, he must have some knowledge of the end: thus an archer will not shoot the arrow straight unless he first see the target. Hence Thomas said (John 14:5): “Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?” Above all is this necessary when hard and rough is the road, heavy the going, but delightful the end. Now by His Passion Christ achieved glory, not only of His soul, not only of His soul, which He had from the first moment of His conception, but also of His body; according to Luke (24:26): “Christ ought [Vulgate: `ought not Christ’] to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory (?).” To which glory He brings those who follow the footsteps of His Passion, according to Acts 14:21: “Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.” Therefore it was fitting that He should show His disciples the glory of His clarity (which is to be transfigured), to which He will configure those who are His; according to Philippians 3:21: “(Who) will reform the body of our lowness configured [Douay: `made like’] to the body of His glory.” Hence Bede says on Mark 8:39: “By His loving foresight He allowed them to taste for a short time the contemplation of eternal joy, so that they might bear persecution bravely.”

Reply to Objection 1: As Jerome says on Matthew 17:2: “Let no one suppose that Christ,” through being said to be transfigured, “laid aside His natural shape and countenance, or substituted an imaginary or aerial body for His real body. The Evangelist describes the manner of His transfiguration when he says: `His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as snow.’ Brightness of face and whiteness of garments argue not a change of substance, but a putting on of glory.”

Reply to Objection 2: Figure is seen in the outline of a body, for it is “that which is enclosed by one or more boundaries” [Euclid, bk i, def. xiv]. Therefore whatever has to do with the outline of a body seems to pertain to the figure. Now the clarity, just as the color, of a non-transparent body is seen on its surface, and consequently the assumption of clarity is called transfiguration.

Reply to Objection 3: Of those four gifts, clarity alone is a quality of the very person in himself; whereas the other three are not perceptible, save in some action or movement, or in some passion. Christ, then, did show in Himself certain indications of those three gifts — of agility, for instance, when He walked on the waves of the sea; of subtlety, when He came forth from the closed womb of the Virgin; of impassibility, when He escaped unhurt from the hands of the Jews who wished to hurl Him down or to stone Him. And yet He is not said, on account of this, to be transfigured, but only on account of clarity, which pertains to the aspect of His Person.

Article 2: Whether this clarity was the clarity of glory?

Objection 1: It would seem that this clarity was not the clarity of glory. For a gloss of Bede on Matthew 17:2, “He was transfigured before them,” says: “In His mortal body He shows forth, not the state of immortality, but clarity like to that of future immortality.” But the clarity of glory is the clarity of immortality. Therefore the clarity which Christ showed to His disciples was not the clarity of glory.

Objection 2: Further, on Luke 9:27 “(That) shall not taste death unless [Vulgate: `till’] they see the kingdom of God,” Bede’s gloss says: “That is, the glorification of the body in an imaginary vision of future beatitude.” But the image of a thing is not the thing itself. Therefore this was not the clarity of beatitude.

Objection 3: Further, the clarity of glory is only in a human body. But this clarity of the transfiguration was seen not only in Christ’s body, but also in His garments, and in “the bright cloud” which “overshaded” the disciples. Therefore it seems that this was not the clarity of glory.

On the contrary, Jerome says on the words “He was transfigured before them” (Matthew 17:2): “He appeared to the Apostles such as He will appear on the day of judgment.” And on Matthew 16:28, “Till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom,” Chrysostom says: “Wishing to show with what kind of glory He is afterwards to come, so far as it was possible for them to learn it, He showed it to them in their present life, that they might not grieve even over the death of their Lord.”

I answer that The clarity which Christ assumed in His transfiguration was the clarity of glory as to its essence, but not as to its mode of being. For the clarity of the glorified body is derived from that of the soul, as Augustine says (Epistula ad Dioscorus (“Letter to Dioscorus”) cxviii). And in like manner the clarity of Christ’s body in His transfiguration was derived from His God. head, as Damascene says (Orat. de Transfig.) and from the glory of His soul. That the glory of His soul did not overflow into His body from the first moment of Christ’s conception was due to a certain Divine dispensation, that, as stated above (Q[14], A[1], ad 2), He might fulfil the mysteries of our redemption in a passible body. This did not, however, deprive Christ of His power of outpouring the glory of His soul into His body. And this He did, as to clarity, in His transfiguration, but otherwise than in a glorified body. For the clarity of the soul overflows into a glorified body, by way of a permanent quality affecting the body. Hence bodily refulgence is not miraculous in a glorified body. But in Christ’s transfiguration clarity overflowed from His Godhead and from His soul into His body, not as an immanent quality affecting His very body, but rather after the manner of a transient passion, as when the air is lit up by the sun. Consequently the refulgence, which appeared in Christ’s body then, was miraculous: just as was the fact of His walking on the waves of the sea. Hence Dionysius says (Epistula ad Caium Monachorum (“Letter to Caius, Monk”) iv): “Christ excelled man in doing that which is proper to man: this is shown in His supernatural conception of a virgin and in the unstable waters bearing the weight of material and earthly feet.” Wherefore we must not say, as Hugh of St. Victor [Innocent III, De Myst. Miss. iv] said, that Christ assumed the gift of clarity in the transfiguration, of agility in walking on the sea, and of subtlety in coming forth from the Virgin’s closed womb: because the gifts are immanent qualities of a glorified body. On the contrary, whatever pertained to the gifts, that He had miraculously. The same is to be said, as to the soul, of the vision in which Paul saw God in a rapture, as we have stated in the SS, Q[175], A[3], ad 2.

Reply to Objection 1: The words quoted prove, not that the clarity of Christ was not that of glory, but that it was not the clarity of a glorified body, since Christ’s body was not as yet immortal. And just as it was by dispensation that in Christ the glory of the soul should not overflow into the body so was it possible that by dispensation it might overflow as to the gift of clarity and not as to that of impassibility.

Reply to Objection 2: This clarity is said to have been imaginary, not as though it were not really the clarity of glory, but because it was a kind of image representing that perfection of glory, in virtue of which the body will be glorious.

Reply to Objection 3: Just as the clarity which was in Christ’s body was a representation of His body’s future clarity, so the clarity which was in His garments signified the future clarity of the saints, which will be surpassed by that of Christ, just as the brightness of the snow is surpassed by that of the sun. Hence Gregory says (Moralia xxxii) that Christ’s garments became resplendent, “because in the height of heavenly clarity all the saints will cling to Him in the refulgence of righteousness. For His garments signify the righteous, because He will unite them to Himself,” according to Isaiah 49:18: “Thou shalt be clothed with all these as with an ornament.”

The bright cloud signifies the glory of the Holy Ghost or the “power of the Father,” as Origen says (Tract. iii in Matthew), by which in the glory to come the saints will be covered. Or, again, it may be said fittingly that it signifies the clarity of the world redeemed, which clarity will cover the saints as a tent. Hence when Peter proposed to make tents, “a bright cloud overshaded” the disciples.

Article 3: Whether the witnesses of the transfiguration were fittingly chosen?

Objection 1: It would seem that the witnesses of the transfiguration were unfittingly chosen. For everyone is a better witness of things that he knows. But at the time of Christ’s transfiguration no one but the angels had as yet any knowledge from experience of the glory to come. Therefore the witnesses of the transfiguration should have been angels rather than men.

Objection 2: Further, truth, not fiction, is becoming in a witness of the truth. Now, Moses and Elias were there, not really, but only in appearance; for a gloss on Luke 9:30, “They were Moses and Elias,” says: “It must be observed that Moses and Elias were there neither in body nor in soul”; but that those bodies were formed “of some available matter. It is also credible that this was the result of the angelic ministries, through the angels impersonating them.” Therefore it seems that they were unsuitable witnesses.

Objection 3: Further, it is said (Acts 10:43) that “all the prophets give testimony” to Christ. Therefore not only Moses and Elias, but also all the prophets, should have been present as witnesses.

Objection 4: Further, Christ’s glory is promised as a reward to all the faithful (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 3:21), in whom He wished by His transfiguration to enkindle a desire of that glory. Therefore He should have taken not only Peter, James, and John, but all His disciples, to be witnesses of His transfiguration.

On the contrary is the authority of the Gospel.

I answer that Christ wished to be transfigured in order to show men His glory, and to arouse men to a desire of it, as stated above (A[1]). Now men are brought to the glory of eternal beatitude by Christ — not only those who lived after Him, but also those who preceded Him; therefore, when He was approaching His Passion, both “the multitude that followed” and that “which went before, cried saying: `Hosanna,'” as related Matthew 21:9, beseeching Him, as it were, to save them. Consequently it was fitting that witnesses should be present from among those who preceded Him — namely, Moses and Elias — and from those who followed after Him — namely, Peter, James, and John — that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses” this word might stand.

Reply to Objection 1: By His transfiguration Christ manifested to His disciples the glory of His body, which belongs to men only. It was therefore fitting that He should choose men and not angels as witnesses.

Reply to Objection 2: This gloss is said to be taken from a book entitled On the Marvels of Holy Scripture. It is not an authentic work, but is wrongly ascribed to St. Augustine; consequently we need not stand by it. For Jerome says on Matthew 17:3: “Observe that when the Scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven, He refused to give one; whereas here in order to increase the apostles’ faith, He gives a sign from heaven, Elias coming down thence, whither he had ascended, and Moses arising from the nether world.” This is not to be understood as though the soul of Moses was reunited to his body, but that his soul appeared through some assumed body, just as the angels do. But Elias appeared in his own body, not that he was brought down from the empyrean heaven, but from some place on high whither he was taken up in the fiery chariot.

Reply to Objection 3: As Chrysostom says on Matthew 17:3: “Moses and Elias are brought forward for many reasons.” And, first of all, “because the multitude said He was Elias or Jeremias or one of the prophets, He brings the leaders of the prophets with Him; that hereby at least they might see the difference between the servants and their Lord.” Another reason was ” … that Moses gave the Law … while Elias … was jealous for the glory of God.” Therefore by appearing together with Christ, they show how falsely the Jews “accused Him of transgressing the Law, and of blasphemously appropriating to Himself the glory of God.” A third reason was “to show that He has power of death and life, and that He is the judge of the dead and the living; by bringing with Him Moses who had died, and Elias who still lived.” A fourth reason was because, as Luke says (9:31), “they spoke” with Him “of His decease that He should accomplish in Jerusalem,” i.e. of His Passion and death. Therefore, “in order to strengthen the hearts of His disciples with a view to this,” He sets before them those who had exposed themselves to death for God’s sake: since Moses braved death in opposing Pharaoh, and Elias in opposing Achab. A fifth reason was that “He wished His disciples to imitate the meekness of Moses and the zeal of Elias.” Hilary adds a sixth reason — namely, in order to signify that He had been foretold by the Law, which Moses gave them, and by the prophets, of whom Elias was the principal.

Reply to Objection 4: Lofty mysteries should not be immediately explained to everyone, but should be handed down through superiors to others in their proper turn. Consequently, as Chrysostom says (on Matthew 17:3), “He took these three as being superior to the rest.” For “Peter excelled in the love” he bore to Christ and in the power bestowed on him; John in the privilege of Christ’s love for him on account of his virginity, and, again, on account of his being privileged to be an Evangelist; James on account of the privilege of martyrdom. Nevertheless He did not wish them to tell others what they had seen before His Resurrection; “lest,” as Jerome says on Matthew 17:19, “such a wonderful thing should seem incredible to them; and lest, after hearing of so great glory, they should be scandalized at the Cross” that followed; or, again, “lest [the Cross] should be entirely hindered by the people” [Bede, Hom. xviii; cf. Catena Aurea]; and “in order that they might then be witnesses of spiritual things when they should be filled with the Holy Ghost” [Hilary, in Matthew xvii].

Article 4: Whether the testimony of the Father’s voice, saying, “This is My beloved Son,” was fittingly added?

Objection 1: It would seem that the testimony of the Father’s voice, saying, “This is My beloved Son,” was not fittingly added; for, as it is written (Job 33:14), “God speaketh once, and repeateth not the selfsame thing the second time.” But the Father’s voice had testified to this at the time of (Christ’s) baptism. Therefore it was not fitting that He should bear witness to it a second time.

Objection 2: Further, at the baptism the Holy Ghost appeared under the form of a dove at the same time as the Father’s voice was heard. But this did not happen at the transfiguration. Therefore it seems that the testimony of the Father was made in an unfitting manner.

Objection 3: Further, Christ began to teach after His baptism. Nevertheless, the Father’s voice did not then command men to hear him. Therefore neither should it have so commanded at the transfiguration.

Objection 4: Further, things should not be said to those who cannot bear them, according to John 16:12: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” But the disciples could not bear the Father’s voice; for it is written (Matthew 17:6) that “the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid.” Therefore the Father’s voice should not have been addressed to them.

On the contrary is the authority of the Gospel.

I answer that The adoption of the sons of God is through a certain conformity of image to the natural Son of God. Now this takes place in two ways: first, by the grace of the wayfarer, which is imperfect conformity; secondly, by glory, which is perfect conformity, according to 1 John 3:2: “We are now the sons of God, and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be: we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” Since, therefore, it is in baptism that we acquire grace, while the clarity of the glory to come was foreshadowed in the transfiguration, therefore both in His baptism and in His transfiguration the natural sonship of Christ was fittingly made known by the testimony of the Father: because He alone with the Son and Holy Ghost is perfectly conscious of that perfect generation.

Reply to Objection 1: The words quoted are to be understood of God’s eternal speaking, by which God the Father uttered the only-begotten and co-eternal Word. Nevertheless, it can be said that God uttered the same thing twice in a bodily voice, yet not for the same purpose, but in order to show the divers modes in which men can be partakers of the likeness of the eternal Sonship.

Reply to Objection 2: Just as in the Baptism, where the mystery of the first regeneration was proclaimed, the operation of the whole Trinity was made manifest, because the Son Incarnate was there, the Holy Ghost appeared under the form of a dove, and the Father made Himself known in the voice; so also in the transfiguration, which is the mystery of the second regeneration, the whole Trinity appears — the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, the Holy Ghost in the bright cloud; for just as in baptism He confers innocence, signified by the simplicity of the dove, so in the resurrection will He give His elect the clarity of glory and refreshment from all sorts of evil, which are signified by the bright cloud.

Reply to Objection 3: Christ came to give grace actually, and to promise glory by His words. Therefore it was fitting at the time of His transfiguration, and not at the time of His baptism, that men should be commanded to hear Him.

Reply to Objection 4: It was fitting that the disciples should be afraid and fall down on hearing the voice of the Father, to show that the glory which was then being revealed surpasses in excellence the sense and faculty of all mortal beings; according to Exodus 33:20: “Man shall not see Me and live.” This is what Jerome says on Matthew 17:6: “Such is human frailty that it cannot bear to gaze on such great glory.” But men are healed of this frailty by Christ when He brings them into glory. And this is signified by what He says to them: “Arise, and fear not.”

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St Augustine’s Homily on the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9)

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 19, 2013

On the words of the gospel, Matt 17:1, “After six days Jesus taketh with Him Peter, and James, and John his brother,” etc.

1. We must now look into and treat of that vision which the Lord showed on the mount. For it is this of which He had said, “Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man in His Kingdom” (Matt 16:28). Then began the passage which has just been read. “When He had said this, after six days He took three disciples, Peter, and James, and John, and went up into a mountain” (Matt 17:1; Luke 9:28.). These three were those” some,” of whom He had said, “There be some here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man in His kingdom.” There is no small difficulty here. For that mount was not the whole extent of His kingdom. What is a mountain to Him who possesseth the heavens? Which we not only read He doth, but in some sort see it with the eyes of the heart. He calleth that His kingdom, which in many places He calleth the “kingdom of heaven.” Now the kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of the saints. “For the heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps 19:1). And of these heavens it is immediately said in the Psalm, “There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world” (Ps 19:3-4). Whose words, but of the heavens? And of the Apostles, and all faithful preachers of the word of God. These heavens therefore shall reign together with Him who made the heavens. Now consider what was done, that this might be made manifest.

2. The Lord Jesus Himself shone bright as the sun; His raiment became white as the snow; and Moses and Elias talked with Him (Matt 17:2-3). Jesus Himself indeed shone as the sun, signifying that “He is the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Jn 1:9). What this sun is to the eyes of the flesh, that is He to the eyes of the heart; and what that is to the flesh of men, that is He to their hearts. Now His raiment is His Church. For if the raiment be not held together by him who puts it on, it will fall off. Of this raiment, Paul was as it were a sort of last border. For he says himself, “I am the least of the Apostles” (1 Cor 15:9) And in another place, “I am the last of the Apostles.” Now in a garment the border is the last and least part. Wherefore as that woman which suffered from an issue of blood, when she had touched the Lord’s border was made whole (Mk 5:34), so the Church which came from out of the Gentiles, was made whole by the preaching of Paul. What wonder if the Church is signified by white raiment, when you hear the Prophet Isaiah saying, “Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow”?(Isa 1:18).  Moses and Elias, that is, the Law and the Prophets, what avail they, except they converse with the Lord? Except they give witness to the Lord, who would read the Law or the Prophets? Mark how briefly the Apostle expresses this; “For by the Law is the knowledge of sin; but now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested:” behold the sun; “being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (Rom 3:20-21), behold the shining of the Sun.

3. Peter sees this, and as a man savouring the things of men says, “Lord, it is good for us to be here” (Matt 17:4) He had been wearied with the multitude, he had found now the mountain’s solitude; there he had Christ the Bread of the soul. What! should he depart thence again to travail and pains, possessed of a holy love to Godward, and thereby of a good conversation? He wished well for himself; and so he added, “If Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” To this the Lord made no answer; but notwithstanding Peter was answered. “For while he yet spake, a bright cloud came, and overshadowed them” (Matt 17:5).  He desired three tabernacles; the heavenly answer showed him that we have One, which human judgment desired to divide. Christ, the Word of God, the Word of God in the Law, the Word in the Prophets. Why, Peter, dost thou seek to divide them? It were more fitting for thee to join them. Thou seekest three; understand that they are but One.

4. As the cloud then overshadowed them, and in a way made one tabernacle for them, “a voice also sounded out of the cloud, which said, This is My beloved Son.” Moses was there; Elias was there; yet it was not said, “These are My beloved sons.” For the Only Son is one thing; adopted sons another. He was singled out in whom the Law and the prophets glorified. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him!” Because ye have heard Him in the Prophets, and ye have heard Him in the Law. And where have ye not heard Him? “When they heard this, they fell” to the earth. See then in the Church is exhibited to us the Kingdom of God. Here is the Lord, here the Law and the Prophets; but the Lord as the Lord; the Law in Moses, Prophecy in Elias; only they as servants and as ministers. They as vessels: He as the fountain: Moses and the Prophets spake, and wrote; but when they poured out, they were filled from Him.

5. But the Lord stretched out His hand, and raised them as they lay. And then “they saw no man, save Jesus only” (Matt 17:7-8). What does this mean? When the Apostle was being read, you heard, “For now we see through a glass darkly,but then face to face” (1 Cor 13:12). And “tongues shall cease,” when that which we now hope for and believe shall come. In then that they fell to the earth, they signified that we die, for it was said to the flesh, “Earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return (Gen 3:19, LXX) But when the Lord raised them up, He signified the resurrection. After the resurrection, what is the Law to thee? what Prophecy? Therefore neither Moses nor Elias is seen. He only remaineth to thee, “Who in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). He remaineth to thee, “that God may be all in all.” Moses will be there; but now no more the Law. We shall see Elias there too; but now no more the Prophet. For the Law and the Prophets have only given witness to Christ, that it behoved Him to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day, and to enter into His glory. And in this glory is fulfilled what He hath promised to them that love Him, “He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him” (Jn 14:21). And as if it were said, What wilt Thou give him, seeing Thou wilt love him? “And I will manifest Myself unto him.” Great gift! great promise! God doth not reserve for thee as a reward anything of His own, but Himself. O thou covetous one; why doth not what Christ promiseth suffice thee? Thou dost seem to thyself to be rich; yet if thou have not God, what hast thou? Another is poor, yet if he hath God, what hath he not?

6. Come down, Peter: thou wast desiring to rest on the mount; come down, “preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim 4:2). Endure, labour hard, bear thy measure of torture; that thou mayest possess what is meant by the white raiment of the Lord, through the brightness and the beauty of an upright labouring in charity. For when the Apostle was being read we heard in praise of charity, “She seeketh not her own (1 Cor 13:5).  She seeketh not her own;” since she gives what she possesses. In another place there is more danger in the expression, if you do not understand it right. For the Apostle, charging the faithful members of Christ after this rule of charity, says, “Let no man seek his own, but another’s” (1 Cor 10:24). For on hearing this, covetousness is ready with its deceits, that in a matter of business under pretence of seeking another’s, it may defraud a man, and so, “seek not his own, but another’s.” But let covetousness restrain itself, let justice come forth; so let us hear and understand. It is to charity that it is said, “Let no man seek his own, but another’s.” Now, O thou covetous one, if thou wilt still resist, and twist the precept rather to this point, that thou shouldest covet what is another’s; then lose what is thine own. But as I know thee weIl, thou dost wish to have both thine own and another’s. Thou wilt commit fraud that thou mayest have what is another’s; submit then to robbery that thou mayest lose thine own. Thou dost not wish to seek thine own, but then thou takest away what is another’s. Now this if thou do, thou doest not well. Hear and listen, thou covetous one: the Apostle explains to thee in another place more clearly this that he said, “Let no man seek his own, but another’s.” He says of himself, “Not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Cor 10:33).  This Peter understood not yet when he desired to live on the mount with Christ. He was reserving this for thee, Peter, after death. But now He saith Himself, “Come down, to labour in the earth; in the earth to serve, to be despised, and crucified in the earth. The Life came down, that He might be slain; the Bread came down, that He might hunger; the Way came down, that life might be wearied in the way; the Fountain came down, that He might thirst; and dost thou refuse to labour? `Seek not thine own.’ Have charity, preach the truth; so shall thou come to eternity, where thou shalt find security.”

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Sunday, February 24~Resources for the Second Sunday of Lent (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms) Substantially Updated

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 19, 2013

This post has been substantially update but further updates (e.g., podcasts) are pending. This post contains resources for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. These resources include commentaries on the readings, sermons and homilies, podcasts, children’s resources, etc. If anyone is aware of children’s resources relating to the Extraordinary Form please let me know.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013
ORDINARY FORM
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT

READINGS AND OFFICE:

  • Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

GENERAL RESOURCES: sites that usually deal with the readings as a whole (with some occasional specialty studies). Commentaries on individual readings are listed further below.

  • Word Sunday. The readings in both and literal translation, notes on the text, podcast, children’s reading.
  • The Unofficial Lectionary. Previously posted. Readings from the Douay-Rheims Challoner version followed by notes from the old Haydock Commentary.
  • SacerdosGives the theme of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral application.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background on the readings. Can be printed out, copied, and used as bulletin insert.
  • Scripture Speaks. I’ve linked to the archive. Hasn’t been updated in a while.
  • The Bible Workshop. Links to several relevant articles, contains a reading guide to the gospel text, a comparison of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • The Wednesday WordIt’s about the Sunday readings, but the document is posted on Wednesday, hence the name. Designed for prayer and reflection, the pdf document ends with Father Dom Henry Wansbrough’s reflections on the first and second readings. Fr. Wansbrough is General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible and contributed commentaries on Matt, Mark, and the Pastorals in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
  • Not Yet Posted: Christian Leadership Center: Preaching the Lectionary. An ecumenical site. The focus this Sunday is on the Gospel.
  • Glancing Thoughts. Brief reflections on the 1st reading from philosopher Eleanore Stump.

CHILDREN’S RESOURCES:

  • Catholic Mom. Scroll down to this Sunday. Resources appear oriented towards 7-14 years of age.
  • We Believe. Activities geared towards Kindergarten through 8th grade. Also has resources for catechists, clergy, etc.
  • Domestic Church. Lent and Easter activities arranged for families, younger children, older children.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18.

  • Our Father Abraham. A Bible Study Lesson from the St Paul Center for Biblical Theology. An overview of the significance of Abraham in the Old and New Testaments.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 27.

  • Pending: Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27.
  • Pending: St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 27.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Philippians 3:17-4:1. Note that a shorter reading is allowed Phil 30:20-4:1.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Luke 9:28b-36.

PODCASTS: Scripture studies, homilies, etc.

  • Abraham, Our Father. Scroll down click on the audio player or the mp3 download link. This is part of a 30 part audio study on the Bible.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
Dominica II in Quadragesima ~ I. classis

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

COMMENTARIES ON THE EPISTLE: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Matthew 17:1-9.

Sermons and Homilies:

Sermon and Homily Notes: for sermon/homily ideas, points for meditation or further study.

  • HeavenBased upon Matt 17:7.

Update: DOGMATICS AND CATECHESIS: Besides preaching on the transfiguration it was also common to preach on the transforming effects of Holy Communion (Eucharist).

  • RELATING TO THE EPISTLE: 1 Thess 4:1-7. Verses 3-8 of this passage have been and can be variously interpreted as the footnote to 4:3-8 in the NABRE makes clear. Some (Aquinas’ commentary) interpret part of the passage as concerned with greed (e.g., the business practices mentioned by the NABRE footnote). Below I’ve included resources for both adultery (9th commandment) and theft (7th commandment). In addition, I’ve included some resources on the sacrament of marriage.

Catechism of the Council of Trent on the 7th Commandment.

Catechism of the Council of Trent on the 9th & 10th commandments. Starts near middle of page. It should be kept in mind that commandments 9 & 10 are more properly treated of next week.

Manual of Catholic Theology on Matrimony.

J.S Hunter’s Outlines of Dogmatic Theology on Matrimony.

The Sacraments: A dogmatic Treatise on Matrimony.

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma on Holy Matrimony.

God the Teacher of Mankind on Matrimony.

Handbook of Moral Theology on Marriage.

  • RELATING TO THE GOSPEL: Matt 17:1-9.

J.S. Hunter’s Outlines of Dogmatic Theology on the Transfiguration. Brief. .

Aquinas’ Summa Theologia on the Transfiguration.

Catechism of the Council of Trent on the Effects of Holy Communion. This was a common theme for preaching in relation to the transfiguration. The source used here contains the catechism’s teaching followed by two short sermons on the subject.

The Sacraments: A Dogmatic Treatise. Pages 218-234. On the effect of the Eucharist.

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma on the Effects of the Eucharist.

Update: PODCASTS:

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 9:27-36

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 19, 2013

9:27-36. But I say unto you truly, there are some of those standing here who shall not taste of death, until they have seen the kingdom of God. And there were after these things about eight days, and He took Peter, and John, and James, and went up to the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the look of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white, shining like lightning: and behold! two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah: who having appeared in glory, spake of His departure, that He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: but having roused themselves, they both saw His glory, and the two men that stood with Him. And it came to pass, that when they were separating from Him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for Thee: and one for Moses: and one for Elijah: not knowing what he said. While he spake these things, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them; and they feared as they entered the cloud. And there was a voice from the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, hear Him. And when there was the voice, Jesus was found alone; and they kept silence, and told no man in those days ought of the things they had seen.

THOSE who are skilful in the combat rejoice when the spectators clap their hands, and are roused to a glorious height of courage by the hope of the chaplets of victory: and so those whoso desire it is to be counted worthy of the divine gifts, and who thirst to be made partakers of the hope prepared for the saints, joyfully undergo combats for piety’s sake towards Christ, and lead elect lives, not setting store by a thankless indolence, nor indulging in a mean timidity, but rather manfully resisting every temptation, and setting at nought the violence of persecutions, while they count it gain to suffer in His behalf. For they remember that the blessed Paul thus writes, |227 “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy of the glory that is about to be revealed in us.”

Observe, therefore, how perfectly beautiful is the method which our Lord Jesus Christ uses here also for the benefit and edification of the holy Apostles. For He had said unto them, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross every day, and follow Me. For he that will save his life shall lose it; and he that will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” The commandment is indeed both for the salvation and honour of the saints, and the cause of the highest glory, and the means of perfect joy: for the choosing to suffer for the sake of Christ is not a thankless duty, but on the contrary makes us sharers in everlasting life, and the glory that is prepared. But as the disciples had not yet obtained power from on high, it probably occasionally happened, that they also fell into human weaknesses, and when thinking over with themselves any such saying as this, may have asked “how does a man deny himself?” or how having lost himself does he find himself again? And what reward will compensate those who thus suffer? Or of what gifts will they be made partakers? To rescue them therefore from such timid thoughts, and, so to speak, to mould them unto manliness, by begetting in them a desire of the glory about to be bestowed upon them, He says, “I say unto you, there are some of those standing here, who shall not taste of death until they have seen the kingdom of God.” Does He mean that the measure of their lives will be so greatly prolonged as even to reach to that time when He will descend from heaven at the. consummation of the world, to bestow upon the saints the kingdom prepared for them? Even this was possible for Him: for He is omnipotent: and there is nothing impossible or difficult to His all-powerful will. But by the kingdom of God He means the sight of the glory in which He will appear at His manifestation to the inhabitants of earth: for He will come in the glory of God the Father, and not in low estate like unto us. How therefore did He make those who had received the promise spectators of a thing so wonderful? He goes up into the mountain taking with Him three chosen disciples: and is transformed to so surpassing and godlike a brightness, that His garments even |228 glittered with rays of fire, and seemed to flash like lightning. And besides, Moses and Elijah stood at Jesus’ side, and spake with one another of His departure, which He was about, it says, to accomplish at Jerusalem: by which is meant the mystery of the dispensation in the flesh; and of His precious suffering upon the cross. For it is also true that the law of Moses, and the word of the holy prophets, foreshewed the mystery of Christ: the one by types and shadows, painting it, so to speak, as in a picture; while the rest in manifold ways declared beforehand, both that in due time He would appear in our likeness, and for the salvation and life of us all, consent to suffer death upon the tree. The standing, therefore, of Moses and Elijah before Him, and their talking with one another, was a sort of representation, excellently displaying our Lord Jesus Christ, as having the law and the prophets for His body guard, as being the Lord of the law and the prophets, and as foreshown in them by those things which in mutual agreement they before proclaimed. For the words of the prophets are not at variance with the teachings of the law. And this I imagine was what Moses the most priestly and Elijah the most distinguished of the prophets were talking of with one another.

But the blessed disciples sleep awhile, as Christ continued long in prayer:—-for He performed these human duties as belonging to the dispensation:—-and afterwards on awaking they became spectators of changes thus splendid and glorious: and the divine Peter, thinking perchance, that the time of the kingdom of God was even now come, proposes dwellings on the mountain, and says that it is fitting there should be three tabernacles, one for Christ, and the others for the other two, Moses and Elijah: “but he knew not,” it says, “what he was saying.” For it was not the time of the consummation of the world, nor for the saints to take possession of the hope promised to them; for as Paul says, “He will change our humble body into the likeness of His,—-that is, Christ’s—-glorious body.” As therefore the dispensation was still at its commencement, and not yet fulfilled, how would it have been fitting for Christ to have abandoned His love to the world, and have departed from His purpose of suffering in its behalf? For He redeemed all under heaven, by both undergoing death |229 in the flesh, and by abolishing it by the resurrection from the dead. Peter therefore knew not what he said 9.

But besides the wonderful and ineffable sight of Christ’s glory, something else was done, useful and necessary for the confirmation of their faith in Him: and not for the disciples only, but even for us too. For a voice was given forth from the cloud above, as from God the Father, saying: “This is My beloved Son, hear Him. And when there was the voice,” it says, “Jesus was found alone.” What then will he who is disputatious and disobedient, and whose heart is incurable, say to these things? Lo! Moses is there, and does the Father command the holy apostles to hear him? Had it been His will that they should follow the commandments of Moses, He would have said, I suppose, Obey Moses; keep the law. But this was not what God the Father here said, but in the presence of Moses and the prophets, He commands them rather to hear Him. And that the truth might not be subverted by any, affirming that the Father rather bade them hear Moses, and not Christ the Saviour of us all, the Evangelist has clearly marked it, saying, “When there was the voice, Jesus was found alone.” When therefore God the Father, from the cloud overhead, commanded the holy apostles, saying, “Hear Him,” Moses was far away, and Elijah too was no longer nigh; but Christ was there alone. Him therefore He commanded them to obey.

For He also is the end of the law and the prophets: for which reason He cried aloud to the multitudes of the Jews: “If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me also: for he wrote of Me 10.” But as they persevered even unto the end in despising the commandment given by most wise Moses, and in rejecting the word of the holy prophets, they have justly been alienated and expelled from those blessings that were |230 promised to their fathers. For “obedience is better than sacrifices, and to hearken than the fat of rams,” as the Scripture saith. And thus much then of the Jews: but upon us who have acknowledged the revelation, all these blessings have necessarily been bestowed, by means of and as the gift of the same Christ: by Whom and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen. |231 source.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 9:28-36

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 19, 2013

28. And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
29. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
30. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
31. Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

Eusebius: Our Lord, when He made known to His disciples the great mystery of His second coming, that it might not seem that they were to believe in His words only, proceeds to works, manifesting to them, through the eyes of their faith, the image of His kingdom; as it follows, And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

Damascene:  Matthew and Mark indeed say that the transfiguration took place on the sixth day after the promise made to the disciples, but Luke on the eighth. But there is no disagreement in these testimonies, but they who make the number six, taking off a day at each end, that is, the first and the last, the day on which He makes the promise, and that on which He fulfilled it, have reckoned only the intervening ones, but He who makes the number eight, has counted in each of the two days above mentioned. But why were not all called, but only some, to behold the sight? There was only one indeed who was unworthy to see the divinity, namely Judas, according to the word of Isaiah, Let the wicked be taken away, that he should not behold the glory of God (Isa 26:10, LXX). If then he alone had been sent away, he might have, as it were from envy, been provoked to greater wickedness. Henceforward He takes away from the traitor every pretext for his treachery, seeing that He left below the rest of the company of the Apostles. But He took with Him three, that in the mouths of two or three witnesses every word should be established. He took Peter, indeed, because He wished to shew him that the witness he had borne to Him was confirmed by the witness of the Father, and that he was as it were to preside over the whole Church. He took with Him James, who was to be the first of all the disciples to die for Christ; but He took John as the clearest singer of the sacred doctrine, that having seen the glory of the Son, which submits not to time, he might sound forth, In the beginning was the Word (Jn 1:1).

Ambrose: Or, Peter went up, who received the keys of the kingdom of heaven; John, to whom was committed our Lord’s mother; James, who first suffered martyrdom (Acts 12).

Theophylact: Or, He takes these  with Him as men who were able to conceal this thing, and reveal it to no one else. But going up into a mountain to pray, He teaches us to pray solitary, and going up, into stooping to earthly things.

Damascene: Servants however pray in one way; our Lord prayed in another. For the prayer of the servant is offered up by the lifting up of the mind to God, but the holy mind of Christ, (who was hypostatically united to God,) prayed, that He might lead us by the hand to the ascent, whereby we mount up in prayer to God, and teach us that He is not opposed to God, but reverences the Father as His beginning; nay, even tempting the tyrant, who sought from Him whether He were God, (which the power of His miracles declared,) He concealed as it were under the bait a hook; that he who had deceived man with the hope of divinity might fitly himself be caught with the clothing of humanity. Prayer is the revelation of Divine glory; as it follows, And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered.

Cyril: Not as though His body changed its human form, but a certain glistening glory overspread it.

Damascene: Now the devil, seeing His face shining in prayer, recollected Moses, whose facewas glorified. But Moses indeed was arrayed with a glory, which came from without; our Lord, with that which proceeded from the inherent brightness of Divine glory (Ex 34:29. For since in the hypostatical union there is one and the same glory of the Word and the flesh, He is transfigured not as receiving what He was not, but manifesting to His disciples what He was. Hence, according to Matthew, it is said, that He was transfigured before them, and that His face shone as the sun (Matt 17:2); for what the sun is in things of sense, God is in spiritual things. And as the sun, which is the fountain of light, cannot be easily seen, but its light is perceived from that which reaches the earth; so the countenance of Christ shines more intensely, like the sun, but His raiment is white as snow; as it follows, And his raiment was white and glistering; that is, lighted up by its participation of the divine light. And a little afterwards, But while these things were so, that it might be shewn there was but one Lord of the new and old covenant, and the mouths of heretics might be shut, and men might believe on the resurrection, and He also, who was transfigured, be believed to be the Lord of the living and the dead, Moses and Elias, as servants, stand by their Lord in His glory; hence it follows, And behold there talked with him two men. For it became men, seeing the glory and confidence of their fellow servants, to admire indeed the merciful condescension of the Lord, but to emulate those who had laboured before them, and looking to the pleasantness of future blessings, to be the more strengthened for conflicts. For he who has known the reward of his labours, will the more easily endure them.

Chrysostom: Or else this took place because the multitude  said He was Elias or Jeremias, to shew the distinction between our Lord and His servants. And to make it plain that He was not an enemy of God, and transgressor of the law, He shewed these two standing by Him; (for else, Moses the lawgiver, and Elias who was zealous for the glory of God, had not stood by Him,) but also to give testimony to the virtues of the men. For each had ofttimes exposed Himself to death in keeping the divine commands. He wishes also His disciples to imitate them in the government of the people, that they might be indeed meek like  Moses, and zealous like Elias. He introduces them also to set forth the glory of His cross, to console Peter and the others who feared His Passion. Hence it follows, And spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

Cyril: The mystery, namely, of His Incarnation, also the life-giving Passion accomplished on the sacred cross.

Ambrose: Now in a mystical manner, after the words above said, is exhibited the transfiguration of Christ, since he who hears the words of Christ, and believes, shall see the glory of His resurrection. For, on the eighth day the resurrection took place. Hence also several Psalms are written, ‘for the eighth,’ or perhaps it was that He might make manifest what He had said, that he who for the word of God shall lose his own life, shall save it, seeing that He will make good His promises at the resurrection.

Bede: For as He rose from the dead after the seventh day of the Sabbath, during which He lay in the tomb, we also after the six ages of this world, and the seventh of the rest of souls, which meanwhile is passed in another life, shall rise again as it were in the eighth age.

Ambrose: But Matthew and Mark have related that He took them with Him after six days, of which we may say after 6000 years, (for a thousand years in the Lord’s sight are as one day;) but more than 6000 years are reckoned. We had rather then take the six days symbolically, that in six days the works of the world were completed, that by the time we may understand the works, by the works the world. And so the times of the world being finished, the resurrection to come is declared; or because, He who has ascended above the world, and has passed beyond the moments of this life, is waiting, seated as it were on a high place, for the everlasting fruit of the resurrection.

Bede: Hence He ascends the mountain to pray and be transfigured, to shew that those who expect the fruit of the resurrection, and desire to see the King in His glory, ought to have the dwelling place of their hearts on high, and be ever on their knees in prayer.

Ambrose: I should think that in the three who are taken up into the mountain, was contained in a mystery the human race, because from the three sons of Noah sprung the whole race of man; I did not perceive that they were chosen out. Three then are chosen to ascend the mountain, because none can see the glory of the resurrection, but they who have preserved the mystery of the Trinity with inviolable purity of faith.

Bede: Now the transfigured Saviour shews the glory of His own coming, or our resurrection; who as He then appeared to His Apostles shall in like manner appear to all the elect. But the raiment of the Lord is taken for the band of His Saints, which in truth when our Lord was upon earth seemed to be despised, but when He sought the mount, shines with a new whiteness; for now are we the sons of God; and it does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him (1 Jn 3:2).

Ambrose: Or else, according to your capacity is the word either lessened or increased to you, and unless you ascend the summit of a higher wisdom, you behold not what glory there is in the word of God. Now the garments of the Word, are the discourses of the Scriptures, and certain clothings of the Divine mind; and as His raiment shone white, so in the eyes of your understanding, the sense of the divine words becomes clear. Hence after Moses, Elias; that is, the Law and the Prophets in the Word. For neither can the Law exist without the Word, nor the Prophet, unless he prophesied of the Son of God. Because my copy of Aquinas’ Catena was damaged at the point where verses 28-31 were dealt with I used this site as a source.

32. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
33. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
34. While he thus spoke, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying This is my beloved Son: hear him.
36. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

THEOPHYLACT: While Christ is engaged in prayer, Peter is heavy with sleep, for he was weak, and did what was natural to man; as it is said, But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep. But when they awake, they behold His glory, and the two men with Him; as it follows, And when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

CHRYSOSTOM: Or, by the word sleep, he means that strange maze that fell upon them by reason of the vision. For it was not night time, but the exceeding brightness of the light weighed down their weak eyes.

AMBROSE: For the incomprehensible brightness of the Divine nature oppresses our bodily senses. For if the sight of the body is unable to contain the sun’s ray when opposite to the eyes which behold it, how can the corruption of our fleshly members endure the glory of God? And perhaps they were oppressed with sleep, that after their rest they might behold the sight of the resurrection. Therefore when they were awake they saw His glory. For no one, except he is watching, sees the glory of Christ. Peter was delighted, and as the allurements of this world enticed him not, was carried away by the glory of the resurrection. Hence it follows, And it came to pass as they departed, &c.

CYRIL: For perhaps holy Peter imagined that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and therefore it seemed good to him to abide on the mount.

DAMASCENE: It were not good for you, Peter, that Christ should abide there, for if He had remained, the promise made to you would never receive its accomplishment. For neither would you have obtained the keys of the kingdom, nor the tyranny of death been abolished. Seek not bliss before its time, as Adam did to be made a God. The time shall come when you shall enjoy the sight without ceasing, and dwell together with Him who is light and life.

AMBROSE: But Peter distinguished not only by earnest feeling, but also by devout deeds, wishing like a zealous workman to build three tabernacles, offers the service of their united labor; for it follows, let us make three tabernacles, one for you, &c.

DAMASSCENE: But the Lord ordained you not the builder of tabernacles, but of the universal Church. Your words have been brought to pass by your disciples, by your sheep, in building a tabernacle, not only for Christ, but also for His servants. But Peter said not this deliberately, but through the inspiration of the Spirit revealing things to come, as it follows, not knowing what he said.

CYRIL: He knew not what he said, for neither was the time come for the end of the world, or for the Saints’ enjoyment of their promised hope. And when the dispensation was now commencing, how was it fitting that Christ should abandon His love of the world, Who was willing to suffer for it?

DAMASCENE: It behoved Him also not to confine the fruit of His incarnation to the service of those only who were on the mount, but to extend it to all believers, which was to be accomplished by His cross and passion.

TIT. BOST: Peter also was ignorant what he said, seeing that it was not proper to make three tabernacles for the three. For the servants are not received with their Lord, the creature is not placed beside the Creator.

AMBROSE: Nor does the condition of man in this corruptible body allow of making a tabernacle to God, whether in the soul or in the body, or in any other place; and although he knew not what he said, yet a service was offered which not by any deliberate forwardness, but its premature devotion, receives in abundance the fruits of piety. For his ignorance was part of his condition, his offer of devotion.

CHRYSOSTOM: Or else Peter heard that it was necessary Christ must die, and on the third day rise again, but he saw around him a very remote and solitary place; he supposed therefore that the place had some great protection. For this reason he said, It is good for us to be here. Moses a too was present, who entered into the cloud. Elias, who on the mount brought down fire from heaven. The Evangelist then, to indicate the confusion of mind in which he utters this, added, Not knowing what he said.

AUGUSTINE: Now in what Luke here says of Moses and Elias, And it came to pass as they departed from him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here, he must not be thought contrary to Matthew and Mark, who have so connected Peter’s suggestion of this, as if Moses and Elias were still speaking with our Lord. For they did not expressly state that Peter said it then, but rather were silent about what Luke added, that as they departed, Peter suggested this to our Lord.

THEOPHYLACT: But while Peter spoke, our Lord builds a tabernacle not made with hands, and enters into it with the Prophets. Hence it is added, While he thus spoke there came a cloud and overshadowed them, to show that He was not inferior to the Father. For as in the Old Testament it was said, the Lord dwelt in the cloud, so now also a cloud received our Lord, not a dark cloud, but bright and shining.

BASIL: For the obscurity of the Law had passed away; for as smoke is caused by the fire, so the cloud by light; but because a cloud is the sign of calmness, the rest of the future state is signified by the covering of a cloud.

AMBROSE: For it is the overshadowing of the divine Spirit which does not darken, but reveals secret things to the hearts of men.

ORIGEN: Now His disciples being unable to bear this, fell down, humbled under the mighty hand of God, greatly tom afraid since they knew what was said to Moses, No man shall see my face, and live. Hence it follows, And they feared as they entered into the cloud.

AMBROSE: Now observe, that the cloud was not black from the darkness of condensed air, and such as to overcast the sky with a horrible gloom, but a shining cloud, from which we were not moistened with rain, but as the voice of Almighty God came forth the dew of faith was shed upon the hearts of men. For it follows, And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear you him. Elias was not His Son. Moses was not. But this is the Son whom you see alone.

CYRIL: How then should men suppose Him who is really the Son to be made or created, when God the Father thundered c. from above, This is my beloved Son! as if He said, Not one of My sons, but He who is truly and by nature My Son, according to whose example the others are adopted. He ordered them then to obey Him, when He added, Hear you him. And to obey Him more than Moses and Elias, for Christ is the end of the Law and the Prophets. Hence the Evangelist adds significantly, And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone.

THEOPHYLACT: Lest in truth any one should suppose that these words, This is my beloved Son, were uttered about Moses or Elias.

AMBROSE: They then departed, when our Lord’s manifestation had begun. There are three seen at the beginning, one at the end; for faith being made perfect, they are one. Therefore are they also received into the body of Christ, because we also shall be one in Christ Jesus; or perhaps, because the Law and the Prophets came out from the Word.

THEOPHYLACT: Now those things which began from the Word, end in the Word. For by this he implies that up to a certain time the Law and the Prophets appear, as here Moses and Elias; but afterwards, at their departure, Jesus is alone. For now abides the Gospel, legal things having passed away.

THEOPHYLACT: And mark, that as when our Lord was baptized in Jordan, so also when He was glorified on the Mount, the mystery of the whole Trinity is declared, for His glory which we confess at baptism, we shall see at the resurrection. Nor in vain does the Holy Spirit appear here in the cloud, there in the form of a dove, seeing that he who now preserves with a simple heart the faith which he receives, shall then in the light of open vision look upon those things which he believed.

ORIGEN: Now Jesus wishes not those things which relate to His glory to be spoken of before His passion. Hence it follows, And they kept it close. For men would have been offended, especially the multitude, if they saw Him crucified Who had been so glorified.

DAMASCENE: This also our Lord commands, since He knew His disciples to be imperfect, seeing that they had not yet received the full measure of the Spirit, lest the hearts of others who had not seen should be prostrated by sorrow, and lest the traitor should be stirred up to a frantic hatred.

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