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

Archive for the ‘Notes on the Passion of Matthew’ Category

A Patristic/Medieval commentary on Psalm 90

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2016

TITLE
Hebrew: A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Chaldee Targum: A Prayer wherewith Moses the Prophet of God prayed when the people, the house of Israel, sinned in the wilderness; he spoke and said thus:

ARGUMENT

Arg. Thomas. That Christ, become the refuge of the people, satisfies us early with His mercy. The Voice of the Apostles to the Father. The Apostolic Voice to the Lord. Here the Prophet showeth that man can hope little from this life.

Ven. Bede. There can be no doubt that such names are attached to the titles as serve to clear up the text of the Psalms by their interpretation. For this reason the name of Moses is fitly prefixed to show the force of this supplication, for he ofttimes appeased the Lord’s wrath by his prayer, and he was also a minister of the Old Testament, and a Prophet of the New. And because this Psalm united both these, it is entitled by his name: which is itself radiant with a twofold mystery. For Moses is interpreted Taken up, because he was lifted out of the waters by Pharaoh’s daughter; which thing, by reason of the Red Sea, denotes the Israelites, and by reason of Baptism, the Christians. Otherwise: Because the Psalmist was about to speak of God, eternal before the ages, Creator and Ruler of the world, and of mankind as subject to death by reason of sins; all which things he had learned from the sayings of Moses, he consecrated by his name, not undeservedly, what he had obtained knowledge of from him.

Moses in the first part begins with praise of the Judge: briefly commemorating His benefits and power: Lord, Thou hast been our refuge. Then he beseeches Him to help our infirmity, which he describes in many ways: Turn not man, &c. Thirdly: He asks that the Advent of the Saviour may quickly appear; Who, as he knew, would bestow blessings on mankind: Make Thy right hand so known.

Eusebius of Cæsarea. The rejection of the Jews.

S.Athanasius. A Psalm of narrative and prayer.

COMMENTARY

It is to be observed, before entering on the exposition of this glorious Psalm, the opening one of the Fourth Book of the Psalter, that the ancient and mediæval Christian commentators, with almost one voice, adjudge it away from Moses, and decline to accept the title as any authority in the matter. S. Athanasius, S. Augustine, S. Jerome, Beda, Euthymius Zigabenus (who usually follows S. Basil and Theodoret) are agreed on this head with Cardinal Bellarmine, Grotius, and the great majority of modern critics.1 Bellarmine, after citing S. Augustine’s remark, that if the title were genuine, we should find the Psalm in the Pentateuch along with the other songs of Moses, and not in the Psalter; adds another objection, that the verse fixing the age of man at eighty years for its extreme limit is incompatible with the history of Moses himself, who, if he wrote the Psalm at all, did so at the close of the forty years’ wandering in the desert, when he was a hundred and twenty years old, yet hale and vigorous, and perfectly competent for the conduct of affairs. Nor is it probable that he would have been chosen as leader at eighty years of age, or Aaron as High Priest at eighty-three, if such seniority then implied decrepitude. Further, it may be noted that the Rabbinical tradition, which lays down a canon that uninscribed Psalms are to be taken as the composition of the last person named in the titles, assigns the nine following Psalms to Moses also; a position at once refuted by the mention of Samuel in 99:6. And we shall thus most fitly take the title to be merely a personification of Moses by the Psalmist, who speaks in his character.

1 Lord, thou hast been our refuge: from one generation to another.

Our refuge. The A. V. more exactly, with Syriac and S. Jerome,* our habitation. The word refuge, then, here signifies a house well fortified and set on a high place, in which such as take refuge are most secure from all harm of enemies, wild beasts, rain, or winds. And truly they who take refuge with God, and who dwell by faith, hope, and charity in Him, as in a fenced citadel, through steadfast meditation and continual desire, are very safe from all attacks of evil, since all things work together for their good.* The whole Psalm is a prayer of the Church to the Eternal Son, for His Incarnation, that He may deliver man from the condition of mortality. (C.) In the person of Moses the Psalmist recalls God’s mercies to him when he was drawn out of the water, when he overcame Pharaoh and his magicians, bringing the children of Israel out of the Red Sea, and when he strove with the rebellious people in the wilderness.* Also, as a prayer of the whole Jewish nation to God, it reminds Him of His deliverances wrought in the time of Pharaoh,* then under Joshua and the Judges; and lastly, in the return from Babylon. And we, (B.) in applying the Psalm to our dear Lord, are confessing Him to be our defence from all eternity, in contradiction to those Jews who said to Him,* “Thou art not yet fifty years old.” He is our refuge from one generation to another, because He is shadowed in type and prophecy under the Old Testament, and is revealed in flesh under the New; because He lifts us out of the carnal generation into the spiritual; (R.) because He is not only the Creator of heaven and earth, the providential Ruler of man from his first origin, (D. C.) but the Creator of the new heaven and earth of grace, of the new man born again in virtue of the Incarnation.* He is our refuge from the world, the flesh, and the devil; He is the refuge of penitents, who flee from sin; of advancing Christians, who flee from the face of temptation;* and of the perfect, who flee from the anxicties and bustle of the world. And this is said relatively of Him, not that any change is wrought in His nature, but that we, being changed, seek shelter with Him,* and know Him to be that refuge which He always was. He is our city of refuge, wherein we are safe from the avenger of blood; He is our tower,* for “the Name of the Lord is a strong tower:* the righteous runneth into it and is safe;”* He is that Captain of the host, Who saith, “If the children of Ammon be too strong for thee,* then I will come and help thee.” He is the Teacher, to Whom we cry,* “I flee unto Thee to hide me, teach me to do the thing that pleaseth Thee.” He is the dove-cot, to Whom pure souls fly,* “as the doves to their windows.”* He is that tender parent Who exclaimed, “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings.” And all this not in type alone, but in very deed; in His stooping to us by the humility of His Incarnation, (Ay.) by His endurance of temptation for us, by His prayers, especially in the Agony, and by His Cross, all which are a sure refuge for us from the destructive sin of pride. (P.) And on this a Spanish writer says very well, that the one remarkable prayer of Moses to God includes three petitions:* first, that God would come in person to lead His people into the land of promise; secondly, that His presence might be a visible one; thirdly, that He would show His glory to His chosen; all which requests are made anew in this psalm, and granted in the coming of the Lord Jesus.

2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made: thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.

Besides the obvious literal meaning of these words,* whence S. Athanasius and other Fathers draw an argument for the Eternal Godhead of the Son, begotten before all worlds; there are mystical senses indicated, as that the mountains denote the exalted angelic powers, and the earth the lowliness of man, teaching us thereby that Christ was anterior to both. And in the second creation, that of the Church, (A.) He was before the Apostles, those great mountains of His,* and the whole body of the faithful. His eternity is marked by the threefold form of the latter clause; time past, in that He was from everlasting; time present, for we say,* Thou art God; time future, world without end. And when we say from everlasting, (A.) we do not thereby imply that He had a beginning, nor in using the word end, do we hint at a close of His existence, but we signify only His changelessness, that He is eternally the same, and therefore we do not here say Thou wast God from everlasting, (D. C.) nor Thou wilt be God world without end, but Thou art God, the same, past, present, and to come. Wherefore Christ saith, “Before Abraham was, I am.”* Bellarmine points out a certain fitness in the reference to mountains in this verse,* after the phrase refuge in the preceding one, inasmuch as they are not only the strongest and most prominent objects on earth, but also are refuges in many ways; the first places to be left dry after deluges, the most difficult for enemies to attack with success. And thus, as they are often used as types of the Saints in Holy Writ, we learn that God’s love and protection are older,* stronger, and higher than even theirs.

3 Thou turnest man to destruction: again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.

Here is the curse pronounced against Adam for his sin,* and the removal of that curse by Christ; the doom of death, and the promise of resurrection. It would be of little avail to us that God is our habitation, if He were not an everlasting one, sufficient for the generation of the world to come, as well as for that of this mortal life; but herein we are taught that He is our eternal Home, for He unites us to Himself, saying, Come again, and that from the destruction and dissolution of sin, to the restoration of penitence and the renewal of the defaced Image of God. And here too we see how God, as He causes each generation to pass away into dust, calls a new one into being. But the LXX. and Vulgate read, Turn not man away to humiliation.1 In this we are not to understand the virtue of lowliness, but either the punishment of dissolution or the sin of earthly and carnal thoughts. (A.) S. Augustine, taking the latter sense, interprets the verse as a prayer that God will not suffer man to turn away from eternal and lofty things to base and fleeting desires, but may give him grace to glory in God alone.* And He saith yet in another place, lest we should doubt His meaning: “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.”* What answer can we make then save that which follows? “Behold, we come unto Thee, for Thou art the Lord our God;” a stronger refuge than the mountains, for it continues: “Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.”

4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday: seeing that is past as a watch in the night.

The Apostle S. Peter supplies us with a gloss on this passage, (L.) telling us that its meaning is that God does not really delay when He seems to us so to do, but is exhibiting His patience towards mankind:* “Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (A.) S. Augustine bids us note that the thousand years are compared to yesterday, not to to-morrow, albeit of equal length, in order to impress upon us the lesson of forgetting things that are behind, and counting them as done with for ever,* but that we should “reach forth unto those things which are before,”* where it is always to-day. And a mediæval commentator observes that the whole life of a sinner (typified, as so often, by the symbolical number a thousand,) is as yesterday, however long he may live. For if you ask a worldly man, How will you spend to-morrow? he will answer, in word or in fact, As I did yesterday. And how was that? I ate, I drank, I talked, I amused myself, I slept. And so it would be with him, were his life prolonged a thousand years. Thus Isaiah speaks of the blind watchmen, who keep not a good watch in the night,* “We will fill ourselves with strong drink, and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.” But if man persist in sinning,* God is no less persistent in mercy, and therefore the Greek Fathers remind us that if a man will but hear God’s voice saying, Come again, and will repent, then, although his life may have been so crowded with sins as to seem as if a thousand years had been needed for their commission, yet they will be nought in His sight, and be blotted out as yesterday is.* Eusebius goes into a calculation here, from the literalist point of view, noting that from the building of Solomon’s temple to the overthrow of Ezra’s second erection, is in round numbers a thousand years, the for ever past yesterday of the Mosaic dispensation. If he had said that a thousand years elapsed from the dedication of the first Temple to the Nativity, he would have been more precise; and a similar cycle embraces the time between the conquests of Joshua and the return of Nehemiah. The life of mankind is here said to be as a watch in the night, (C.) for three reasons: its briefness, for there were four night watches, of but three hours each; its toilsome anxiety, fitly signifying the perpetual warfare of this mortal state;* and its darkness.

5 As soon as thou scatterest them, they are even as a sleep: and fade away suddenly like the grass.

6 In the morning it is green, and groweth up: but in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.

The first half of the fifth verse runs quite differently in LXX. and Vulgate, and is, with little variance, Their years shall be nothingness. The clause is for the most part taken with the preceding verse,* and the first interpretation which calls for notice is that of Diodorus, who enforces from the words the lesson of the completeness of God’s pardon for repented sins, so that all the years which have been spent in them shall be utterly blotted out of His records. Another observes that we live by only infinitesimal parts of time.* Our past life is non-existent, for its days and years are dead; our future life is non-existent, for its hours are not yet born, and therefore we can count only the present instant, which slips from us as we try to grasp it, and is nothing. But the truer sense is given by the A. V. agreeing with Symmachus, Thou carriest them away as with a flood, they are as a sleep. And the first of these clauses may be taken in two ways,* either that the comparison is of life to a river, hurrying resistlessly into the ocean, and unable to stay for an instant in its course, or else that the idea is that of a sudden storm of rain,* washing the sky free of clouds, and the ground of light and unfixed objects lying casually about,* which are borne away in the torrent, while the word sleep reminds us of the manner in which our senses and reason are bound in slumber here on earth, so that we take fictions for truth, and have no power to undeceive ourselves, as well as of the manner in which these visions of the night vanish with our awakening. And so Pindar moralizes—

ἐπάμεροι· τί δέ τις; τί δʼ οὔ τις; σκιᾶς ὄναρ

ἄνθρωπος.*

We are creatures of a day. What is any one? what is he not?

The dream of a shadow, man.

But of the Saints we may remember that it is spoken, “Thou shalt give them drink of Thy pleasures as out of the river;”* and again, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground;”* and yet further, “He giveth His beloved sleep,”* so that they are hurried away in rapt delight at the thought of God, and sleep, with waking heart, in that contemplation wherein they dream of Him. Like the grass. Here they take the morning and evening to be youth and old age, or, with little difference of meaning, life and death. We are cut down in death, dried up as corpses, withered into dust. (A.) And this is more awfully true of those lives which merely flourish and pass (Vulg.) without ever bringing forth actual fruit, (R.) for after the morning of this world,* when the night of judgment is come, they shall be cut down and cast into hell, suffered to harden (Vulg.) in their wickedness, and be dried up in the fierce flame of God’s wrath against sin. Once more, they take the grass to be the Mosaic Law, given in the morning youth of the nation by Christ on Mount Sinai, and abolished in the evening of time, when He came in the flesh. The whole figure is one frequently met in the classical poets, (Cd.) notably in Homer’s comparison of men to the successive leaves of a tree, but perhaps the closest parallel to this passage is supplied by Plautus:

Quasi solstitialis herba paulisper fui,*

Repente exortus sum, repentino occidi.

Like to a summer plant brief space I was,

I sprang up suddenly, and sudden fell.

Although the words of our Lord, wherein He speaks of “the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven,”* may be taken as explaining this sudden decay as the result of external violence, as the action of the scythe, not of natural causes, yet there are not wanting those who prefer to see a reference to those ephemeral plants whose bloom and fading are comprised in a single day. But the most natural explanation is to see noted here the rapid effects of an Eastern sun on the herbage. And so the Apostle S. James, “The sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof fadeth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth,”* an apt type of the sinner in the presence of God.

7 For we consume away in thy displeasure: and are afraid at thy wrathful indignation.

The double chastisement of body and soul is here set before us;* the gradual wasting of our physical frame under the attacks of disease and age,* and the mental terrors brought upon us by the thought of God’s divine anger against sin.* Those who take the whole Psalm as a dirge over the vanished glories of the Hebrew race, explain this verse as denoting that a heavier punishment than falls to the lot of other men had smitten the chosen nation; whether we take the words as referring specially to the death in the wilderness of all but two of the great host of armed men that came up out of Egypt, to the Babylonian captivity, (L.) or to the final dispersion under Titus and Hadrian. (D. C.) And others again prefer to understand it of the gradual shortening of the span of human life, from the centuries of the earliest race to the decades of later times.*

8 Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee: and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

Inasmuch as misdeeds are obliquities, (L.) perversities, and deviations from the right, God is said to set them before Him when, instead of hiding His face from them,* or covering them, He does, as it were, turn them round towards Himself, and fixes His eyes upon them, so that they cannot escape nor be concealed, but be detected and punished.* And in this He acts like earthly judges, who summon criminals before their tribunal, and submit them there to close examination, bringing hidden things into the light of judgment. Our secret sins. There is some variety of rendering the Hebrew עֲלֻמֵנוּ, the LXX. and Vulgate taking it as our whole duration (αἰὼν, sæculum,) S. Jerome rendering negligentias, the Chaldee and some others as youth, that is, as elsewhere, youthful sins. But the Prayer Book version appears the most satisfactory, and in any case the ultimate meaning will be the same, that it is precisely what seems to us most obscure and forgotten, that will be placed in the full blaze of God’s countenance,* which does not, like our sight, derive its rays from external objects, but is itself the source of light. The Syriac version, however, keeping to the idea of youth, beautifully turns the second clause into a prayer: Because Thou hast set our misdeeds before Thee, make us grow young in the light of Thy countenance. Put away from us the old man with his sins; renew in us the image of the New Man, and that by showing Him to us visibly in the flesh, that we may see Him as He is,* and thereby become like Him, as the pool becomes like the sun which shines on it.

9 For when thou art angry, all our days are gone: we bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.

The previous verse is taken by several commentators to have a special reference either to the sin of Adam,* visited on his posterity,* or to the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and, consequently, this passage is explained by some to have general reference to the sentence of death pronounced against all mankind for the one cause, or of national overthrow against the Jews specially,* for the other. Had it not been for this, the days and years would have still flowed on, but they would, have brought none of the evils of age and weakness, far less of decay and death, in their course. As it were a tale that is told. There is a considerable variety of interpretation of the Hebrew text here, both amongst ancient and modern critics. The Chaldee turns it,* As the breath of the mouth in winter. S. Jerome, not unlike our rendering, As one uttering a speech. Others again, as a meditation (A. V. marg.) or reverie;1 or further, as a sigh or groan, a meaning which is the most probable, and agrees with the sense of הֶגֶה in the two other places where it occurs, Job 37:2, and Ezek. 2:10. But the LXX., Æthiopic, and Vulgate agree in translating the whole clause, meditated (or shall meditate) as a spider, i.e., a spiders web, which fuller form the Arabic gives, agreeing with the Syriac. however, in making the verb mean fail, or glide away.1 The fanciful nature of this simile has given birth to a crowd of interpretations. (C.) First may be placed that of Cassiodorus, that the lives of sinners are compared to spiders, because their intricate, subtle and yet frail devices for evil ends are like the webs woven to catch flies, while the word meditate is used in opposition to worked, to show the inutility and vanity of their existence.* The web of the spider is very slender, and of no value, like worldly cunning, of which we may take those words of the Prophet, “Moreover, they that work in fine flax, and they that weave net works, shall be confounded.”* The spider spins its web out of its own entrails, and is thus like the covetous. Its toil is laborious, but rapidly swept away; just as the hypocrite’s “hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider’s web.”* It weaves its web high up in corners, not on level spots, and thus denotes secrecy and cunning. It prefers to spin in deserted houses, and so they whose soul was been abandoned by God, delight in sinister occupations. It works chiefly in the dark, and thus resembles those who shun the light, because their deeds are evil.* It hangs downwards from its web by a slender thread, denoting those who are in constant suspense and anxiety about earthly trifles, and it labours hard for a very small result, (Z.) giving much meditation thereto. Others, however, take the word meditated in the sense that the years of man shall be reputed or esteemed as no better than spider’s webs.* Eusebius, reminding us of that saying of Isaiah concerning the wicked Jews, “They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web.… their webs shall not become garments;”* observes that in ancient times the children of Israel wove rich vestments for the High Priests, but that when the Great High Priest came, they wove instead subtle plots against Him with cunning use of Scriptural texts and traditional comments, meaning to snare Him therewith, but vainly.

10 The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though men be so strong that they come to fourscore years: yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon passeth it away, and we are gone.

Omitting the obvious literal interpretation of the verse, let us turn to the spiritual lessons which they draw from it. And first, let us hear S. Augustine explaining, (A.) according to his wont, the mystical significance of the numbers. Seventy and eighty make one hundred and fifty, which the Book of Psalms itself proves to be a sacred number. And its proportional meaning is the same as that of the number fifteen, made up of seven and eight; whereof the former, by reason of the observance of the Sabbath, denotes the Old Testament; the other, the New Testament, because of the Lord’s Resurrection. Hence are there fifteen steps of the Temple, the fifteen Songs of degrees amongst the Psalms, hence the waters of the flood prevailed fifteen cubits above the tops of the mountains. Seventy years is the temporal life of the Old Testament; eighty, which is in power (Vulg.) that is, in things eternal, is the new life of the New Testament in the hope of renewal and resurrection to immortality, while anything beyond (Vulg.) this, anything which transgresses the faith, and seeks for something else, is but labour and sorrow. (B.) Not very dissimilarly, others say that the word seventy denotes active life, as we number our existence here by the seven days of the week, while eighty, as suggesting the eighth day, the beginning of a new week, typical of a new life, implies contemplation on earth, and the Beatific Vision in the life to come. So soon passeth it away, and we are gone. The A. V. more exactly, with Targum and S. Jerome,* we fly away. This at once suggests the famous parable of the heathen Thane in the Witan assembled by Edwin of Northumbria to debate on the mission of S. Paulinus. “The present life of man, O King, may be likened to what often happens when thou art sitting at supper with thy thanes and nobles in winter-time. A fire blazes on the hearth, and warms the chamber; outside rages a storm of wind and snow; a sparrow flies in at one door of thy hall, and quickly passes out at the other. For a moment, and while it is within, it is unharmed by the wintry blast, but this brief season of happiness over, it returns to that wintry blast whence it came, and vanishes from thy sight. Such is the brief life of man; we know not what went before it, and we are utterly ignorant as to what shall follow it. If, therefore, this new doctrine contain anything more certain, it justly deserves to be followed.” But the LXX. and Vulgate diverge completely from the existing Hebrew text, reading as they do, For gentleness hath come upon[us, LXX.] and we shall be corrected [instructed LXX.] That is,* as they tell us, we derive at least this advantage from old age, that it breaks down the pride and obstinacy of youth, and we become gentle through consciousness of our feeble condition, and are corrected or instructed into submitting ourselves under the mighty and chastening, but loving hand of God. (C.) Or, as another, yet more beautifully, teaches, He Who is gentleness itself, our dear and tender Lord, hath come to us, and will correct us, if we obey not His teachings, but more gently than under the harshness of the Law. Another, accepting gentleness as the special epithet of Christ, (R.) takes the coming and correction to be that of the last Judgment, when He Who has been so long-suffering with us, saying to us, like His Apostle, “What, shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and the spirit of meekness?”* will punish the impenitent.

The Lord shall come,* but not the same
As once in lowliness He came,—
A silent Lamb before His foes,
A weary Man, and full of woes.
The Lord shall come, a glorious Form,
With wreath of flame and robe of storm,
On cherub wings and wings of wind,
Appointed Judge of all mankind.

But one writer who follows the Vulgate reading,* brings us back to the real force, saying, The phrase We shall be corrected means we shall die, and we shall be amended. For death is a general correction, which amends our vices in us, and in what way? By means of gentleness, for it pacifies all. For gentleness hath come upon us. The lion dies, the tiger dies, the adder dies, and where then is the lion’s valour, the tiger’s fierceness, the adder’s poison? Now, the lion is not brave, the tiger is not fierce, the adder is not venomous, and all those untamed beasts and monsters are docile now, for death hath tamed them. And if death can work such amendment and change in wild beasts, why should it not do the like in man? A better change, too, than mere stilling of our passions, but like that of which one of our own poets has sung—

.… from the Golden Throne the Lord of death*
With love benignant on Ladurlad smiled,
And gently on his head his blessing laid.
As sweetly as a child,
Whom neither thought disturbs nor care encumbers,
Tired with long play, at close of summer day,
Lies down and slumbers,
Even thus as sweet a boon of sleep partaking,
By Yamen blest, Ladurlad sank to rest.
Blessed that sleep, more blessed was the waking,
For on that night a heavenly morning broke,
The light of heaven was round him when he woke.

11 But who regardeth the power of thy wrath: for even thereafter as a man feareth, so is thy displeasure.
12 So teach us to number our days: that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

This rendering is very obscure, and it is simpler to take the A. V., Who knoweth the power of Thine anger? even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath.* That is, what man can tell the awfulness of God’s indignation against sin? seeing that His wrath is proportionable to His majesty, and to the reverential fear we ought to entertain for Him, to guard us from transgressing His precepts.* And because no man can do this except God teach him, we then pray Him so to instruct us to understand our brief sojourn here, so to order our lives that we may understand His might and holiness, His justice and wrath as our Judge, our own weakness as miserable sinners, that we may truly repent, and with softened hearts turn to the Eternal Wisdom, the Word of God Himself, and sit meekly at His feet to learn the way of holiness. But the LXX. and Vulgate follow a different reading, and join on the word number to the preceding verse, thus: Who knoweth … to number Thine anger in comparison with Thy fear? which, so far, does not affect the general sense of the passage. (A.) But they continue: So make known Thy right hand,1 and the instructed in heart in wisdom. That is, reveal unto us Thy Christ, the Right Hand of Thy power, that He, in turn, may make known to us that everlasting felicity which is prepared for those who shall be set on His right hand in the Judgment. And show us not only Him, but as further lessons and examples for us, those Apostles, Martyrs, (C.) and Saints who have drunk His wisdom in with thirsty hearts, and have thereby in their lives and doctrine taught us what it is to follow Him.*

13 Turn thee, O Lord, at the last: and be gracious unto thy servants.

At the last. LXX.* and Vulg. rightly, with A. V., How long? As long as is Thy good pleasure, so that Thou be gracious unto Thy servants, (R.) or as long as is needful for Thee to turn unto us for our salvation; or again,* for a time equal to that during which Thou wast turned from us; and, we pray, keep Thyself so turned with the light of Thy countenance shining on us, (D. C.) till we reach our desired end. But the Chaldee takes the sentence as incomplete,* and fills it up thus: How long wilt Thou afflict us? And He gives us a plain answer: “Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.”* Then, when we are willing to forsake our sins, He will be entreated for His servants, and repent Him (A. V.) of His severity; that is, will like a strict loving parent show tenderness to His converted children, in proportion to the weight of His chastening hand so long as they continued froward.

14 O satisfy us with thy mercy, and that soon: so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
15 Comfort us again now after the time that thou hast plagued us: and for the years wherein we have suffered adversity.

Soon. Rather, early,* which the Vulgate turns, in the morning. It is not of the way, (A.) but of our Country that these words are spoken. Here, God’s love and grace are as a light that shineth in a dark place, in the night and sorrow of this world, in our dimly enlightened hearts, but there, in the morning, when we shall see “the day dawn, and the Day-star arise in our hearts,”* nevermore to set, we shall be satisfied with the mercy of God, (C.) that is, with His dear Son. So shall we rejoice, “for Thou delightest not in our destruction, inasmuch as Thou makest a calm after the storm, and after crying and tears, Thou pourest in gladness.”* Wherefore it is added, After the time that Thou hast plagued us. “This kind of rejoicing,”* observes a Saint, “the heavenly citizens would never have known were it not for the children of the Church. For joy comes in good time after sorrow, rest after toil, a haven after shipwreck. All love safety, but he most who has been afraid. Light is pleasant to all, but most to him who escapeth out of the power of darkness. By the passage from death to life grace is doubled in its delightfulness. This is my special portion in the heavenly banquet, apart from those blessed spirits. I am bold to say that the very life of blessedness itself is augmented, and obtains some addition to its perfection through me, by reason of what it enjoys through its love for me, and that to no small extent, for the angels rejoice at the repentance of a sinner. But if my tears are delightful to the angels, what will my delight be to them?” (D. C.) There is a sense in which the prayer was granted even in this world, by the early morning Resurrection of Christ, by the descent of the Holy Spirit in fiery tongues at the third hour of the Day of Pentecost.* It is granted also to those on whom God bestows the grace of penitence, and inspires with the hope of pardon and salvation after He has chastised them for their sins; nay, with thankful rejoicing in the very chastisements which have testified His fatherly love, and they learn to “rejoice in the Lord alway”* all the days of their earthly life, in preparation for the unending gladness of their promised immortality, in that morning which begins an unending series of days that have no evening.

The night was dark with terror,*
The morn is bright with gladness;
The Cross becomes our harbour,
And we triumph after sadness;
And Jesus to His true ones
Brings trophies fair to see:
And Jesus shall be loved, and
Beheld in Galilee:
Beheld, when morn shall waken
And shadows shall decay,
And each true-hearted servant
Shall shine as doth the day.

16 Show thy servants thy work: and their children thy glory.

Not works, in the plural, like the many sacrifices of the Law.* The covenant of grace knows only one work, that of Christ. Thy work. The especial work of God is the salvation of man, to be wrought out by the merits of Christ. It is therefore a prayer for His coming, His Resurrection and Ascension, the sending of the Holy Ghost, and the foundation of the Church, for “this is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”* And note that the prayer is twofold, that we may see the work, and our children the glory, teaching us thereby that the triumph of the Church is not to be looked for till the work is ended, that the sufferings of the Saints must precede their victories, that the martyrdom of the Apostles is the needful preliminary to the conversion of the Empire.* Or, if we take the words of God’s work in the soul, their meaning will be, “Work in Thy servants by Thy grace, that they may do good works, and let Thy work in the matter be so plain, that others may see their good deeds, and glorify Thee, their Father in heaven, and that this holy operation may not cease with them, but be continued for their children too. The LXX. and Vulgate are, however, slightly different here, and read, Look upon Thy servants, and Thy works, and guide their children. It is, observes Cassiodorus, (C.) a prayer to God to spare the Jewish nation, once His servants, though now rebels, and to guide into the way of salvation the children of those who slew Him.* Bless, as another will have it, the work of Thy servants in the ministry of souls, and guide their spiritual children, their converts and pupils, in the right way.

17 And the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us: prosper thou the work of our hands upon us, O prosper thou our handywork.

There is a twofold Rabbinical tradition respecting this verse and the preceding one;* that they were the original prayer recited by Moses as a blessing on the work of making the Tabernacle and its ornaments, and that subsequently he employed them as the usual formula of benediction for any newly undertaken task, whenever God’s glorious majesty was to be consulted for an answer by Urim and Thummim. For us that glorious majesty is Christ our King Himself,* Whose splendour has enlightened us for ever; it is, further, the illumination of the Holy Ghost, Whom He has sent us, it is even His own triumphal Cross, wherein we glory, wherewith we sign ourselves as a safeguard against evil.* So enlightened, so fortified by His prevenient grace, we may begin our part of the great undertaking. (C.) When He has shown us His work, and given us clear light wherein to see it, (P.) then we may ask for wisdom and strength to carry it on, (A.) always under His guidance, to the one perfect work and end of charity, wherein He co-operates throughout with His grace,* as He bestowed on us the will and power necessary for a beginning.

Wherefore:

Glory be to the Father, Who is God from everlasting; glory be to the Son, His Mercy, Who saith to us, Come again, ye children of men; glory be to the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

VARIOUS USES

Gregorian and Monastic. Thursday: Lauds.

Ambrosian. Wednesday of Second Week: III. Nocturn.

Parisian. Thursday: Prime.

Lyons. Friday: Compline.

Quignon. Wednesday: Nones.

Eastern Church. Prime.

ANTIPHONS

Gregorian and Monastic. Lord,* Thou hast been our refuge.

Ambrosian. As preceding Psalm.

Mozarabic. The glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us.

COLLECTS

Almighty God, Creator of the star of light,* Who drivest away the night and bringest back the light anew to the world, satisfy us, we beseech Thee, with the renewed shining of Thy mercy, that we may, through Thine illumination, drive away all the darkness of sin. (1.)

Keep us, O Lord, from one generation to another,* and let not us, who have clung to Thy foundation, be carried away with this present world, but arise to be our Comforter in trouble, and by the bestowal of joy wipe away our sorrows. (11.)

Let Thy glorious majesty, O Lord, be upon us, and guide Thou the work of our hands,* look graciously upon Thy servants, and with Thy light direct the beginnings of good works in us. (11.)

Be Thou our Refuge, O Lord, and guide Thy people with Thy fatherly governance,* that as the times of our fathers felt Thy cares, so ours also may know Thy bounties towards them. (11.)

We beseech Thee, O Lord our Saviour, that Thy glory may shine in our hearts,* that Thou mayest cast out from us all assaults of darkness and all foul thoughts, and drive away all sins from our hearts; so enlighten our darkness that the shades may flee, and glorious light dwell in our hearts. (5.)

O Lord, Who art God from everlasting and world without end, (D. C.) be Thou in all places our Refuge; look mercifully upon us Thy servants, and let the glory of Thy godhead be upon us, that our works may alway be guided by Thee, and be finished by Thee when begun. (1.)

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 5:27-32

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 8, 2013

Ver 27. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery:’28. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

Chrys., Hom. xvii: The Lord having explained how much is contained in the first commandment, namely, “Thou shalt not kill,” proceeds in regular order to the second.

Aug., Serm. ix, 3 and 10: “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” that is, Thou shalt go no where but to thy lawful wife. For if you exact this of your wife, you ought to do the same, for the husband ought to go before the wife in virtue. It is a shame for the husband to say that this is impossible. Why not the husband as well as the wife? And let not him that is unmarried suppose that he does not break this commandment by fornication; you know the price wherewith you have been bought, you know what you eat and what your drink [ed. note, g: Nic. inserts here, from the original, ‘immo quem manduces, quem bibas.’] therefore keep yourself from fornications. Forasmuch as all such acts of lust pollute and destroy God’s image, (which you are,) the Lord who knows what is good for you, gives you this precept that you may not pull down His temple which you have begun to be.

Aug., cont. Faust. 19, 23: He then goes on to correct the error of the Pharisees, declaring, “Whoso looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery already with her in his heart.” For the commandment of the Law, “Thou shalt not lust after thy neighbour’s wife,” [Exo_20:17] the Jews understood of taking her away, not of committing adultery with her.

Jerome: Between and that is between actual passion and the first spontaneous movement of the mind, there is this difference: passion is at once a sin; the spontaneous movement of the mind, though it partakes of the evil of sin, is yet not held for an offence committed. [ed. note, h: In this passage S. Jerome, who seems to have introduced the word propassio,  into theology, uses it somewhat in a sense of his own; viz. as involving something of the nature of sin; vid. also Comm. in Ezek. xviii, 1, 2. The word is more commonly applied to our Lord, as denoting the mode and extent in which His soul was affected by what in others became . In us passion precedes reason, in Him it followed, or was a . vid. S. Jerome in Matt. xxvi. 37. Leon. Ep. 35. Damasc. F. O. iii. 20 &c. &c.]

When then one looks upon a woman, and his mind is therewith smitten, there is propassion; if he yields to this he passes from propassion to passion, and then it is no longer the will but the opportunity to sin that is wanting. “Whosoever,” then, “looketh on a woman to lust after her,” that is, so looks on her as to lust, and cast about to obtain, he is rightly said to commit adultery with her in his heart.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 12: For there are three things which make up a sin; suggestion either through the memory, or the present sense; if the thought of the pleasure of indulgence follows, that is an unlawful thought, and to be restrained; if you consent then, the sin is complete. For prior to the first consent, the pleasure is either none or very slight, the consenting to which makes the sin. But if consent proceeds on into overt act, then desire seems to be satiated and quenched. And when suggestion is again repeated, the contemplated pleasure is greater, which previous to habit formed was but small, but now more difficult to overcome.

Greg., Mor., xxi, 2: But whoso casts his eyes about without caution  will often be taken with the pleasure of sin, and ensnared by desires begins to wish for what he would not. Great is the strength of the flesh to draw us downwards, and the charm of beauty once admitted to the heart through the eye, is hardly banished by endeavour. We must therefore take heed at the first, we ought not to look upon what it is unlawful to desire. For that the heart may be kept pure in thought, the eyes, as being on the watch to hurry us to sin, should be averted from wanton looks.

Chrys.: If you permit yourself to gaze often on fair countenances you will assuredly be taken, even though you may be able to command your mind twice or thrice. For you are not exalted above nature and the strength of humanity. She too who dresses and adorns herself for the purpose of attracting men’s eyes to her, though her endeavor should fail, yet shall she be punished hereafter; seeing she mixed the poison and offered the cup, though none was found who would drink thereof. For what the Lord seems to speak only to the man, is of equal application to the woman; inasmuch as when He speaks to the head, the warning is meant for the whole body.

Ver 29. “And if they right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.30. And if they right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

Gloss, non occ.: Because we ought not only to avoid actual sin, but even put away every occasion of sin, therefore having taught that adultery is to be avoided not in deed only, but in heart, He next teaches us to cut off the occasions of sin.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But if according to that of the Prophet, “there is no whole part in our body,” [Psa_38:3] it is needful that we cut off every limb that we have that the punishment may be equal to the depravity of the flesh.

Is it then possible to understand this of the bodily eye or hand? As the whole man when he is turned to God is dead to sin, so likewise the eye when it has ceased to look evil is cut off from sin. But this explanation will not suit the whole; for when He says, “thy right eye offends thee,” what does the left eye? Does it contradict the right eye, and it is preserved innocent?

Jerome: Therefore by the right eye and the right hand we must understand the love of brethren, husbands and wives, parents and kinsfolk; which if we find to hinder our view of the true light, we ought to sever from us.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 13: As the eye denotes contemplation, so the hand aptly denotes action. By the eye we must understand our most cherished friend, as they are wont to say who would express ardent affection, ‘I love him as my own eye.’ And a friend too who gives counsel, as the eye shews us our way. The “right eye,” perhaps, only means to express a higher degree of affection, for it is the one which men most fear to lose.

Or, by the right eye may be understood one who counsels us in heavenly matters, and by the left one who counsels in earthly matters. And this will be the sense; Whatever that is which you love as you would your own right eye, if it “offend you,” that is, if it be an hindrance to your true happiness, “cut it off and cast it from you.” For if the right eye was not to be spared, it was superfluous to speak of the left. The right hand also is to be taken of a beloved assistant in divine actions, the left hand in earthly actions.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; Christ would have us careful not only of our own sin, but likewise that even they who pertain to us should keep themselves from evil. Have you any friend who looks to your matters as your own eye, or manages them as your own hand, if you know of any scandalous or base action that he has done, cast him from you, he is an offence; for we shall give account not only of our own sins, but also of such of those of our neighbours as it is in our power to hinder.

Hilary: Thus a more lofty step of innocence is appointed us, in that we are admonished to keep free, not only from sin ourselves, but from such as might touch us from without.

Jerome: Otherwise; As above He had placed lust in the looking on a woman, so now the thought and sense straying hither and thither He calls ‘the eye.’ By the right hand and the other parts of the body, He means the initial movements of desire and affection.

Pseudo-Chrys.: The eye of flesh is the mirror of the inward eye. The body also has its own sense, that is, the left eye, and its own appetite, that is, the left hand. But the parts of the soul are called right, for the soul was created both with free-will and under the law of righteousness, that it might both see and do rightly.

But the members of the body being not with free-will, but under the law of sin, are called the left. Yet He does not bid us cut off the sense or appetite of the flesh; we may retain the desires of the flesh, and yet not do thereafter, but we cannot cut off the having the desires. But when we wilfully purpose and think of evil, then our right desires and right will offend us, and therefore He bids us cut them off. And these we can cut off, because our will is free.

Or otherwise; Every thing, however good in itself that offends ourselves or others, we ought to cut off from us. For example, to visit a woman with religious purposes, this good intent towards her may be called a right eye, but if often visiting her I have fallen into the net of desire, or if any looking on are offended, then the right eye, that is, something in itself good, offends me. For the “right eye” is good intention, the “right hand” is good desire.

Gloss. ord.: Or, the “right eye” is the contemplative life which offends by being the cause of indolence or self-conceit, or in our weakness that we are not able to support it unmixed. The “right hand” is good works, or the active life, which offends us when we are ensnared by society and the business of life.

If then any one is unable to sustain the contemplative life, let him not slothfully rest from all action; or on the other hand while he is taken up with action, dry up the fountain of sweet contemplation.

Remig.: The reason why the right eye and the right hand are to be cast away is subjoined in that, “For it is better, &c.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: For as we are every one members one of another, it is better that we should be saved without some one of these members, than that we perish together with them. Or, it is better that we should be saved without one good purpose, or one good work, than that while we seek to perform all good works we perish together with all.

Ver 31. “It hath been said, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:’32. But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

Gloss, non occ.: The Lord had taught us above that our neighbour’s wife was not to be coveted, He now proceeds to teach that our own wife is not to be put away.

Jerome: For touching Moses’ allowance of divorce, the Lord and Saviour more fully explains in conclusion, that it was because of the hardness of the hearts of the husbands, not so much sanctioning discord, as checking bloodshed.

Pseudo-Chrys.: For when Moses brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, they were indeed Hebrews in race, but Egyptians in manners. And it was caused by the Gentile manners that the husband hated the wife; and if he was not permitted to put her away, he was ready either to kill her or ill-treat her. Moses therefore suffered a bill of divorcement, not because it was a good practice in itself, but was the prevention of a worse evil.

Hilary: But the Lord who brought peace and goodwill on earth, would have it reign especially in the matrimonial bond.

Aug., cont. Faust., xix, 26: The Lord’s command here that a wife is not to be put away, is not contrary to the command in the Law, as Manichaeus affirmed. Had the Law allowed any who would to put away his wife, to allow none to put away were indeed the very opposite of that. But the difficulty which Moses is careful to put in the way, shews that he was no good friend to the practice at all. For he required a bill of divorcement, the delay and difficulty of drawing out which would often cool headlong rage and disagreement, especially as by the Hebrew custom, it was the Scribes alone who were permitted to use the Hebrew letters, in which they professed a singular skill.

To these then the law would send him whom it bid to give a writing of divorcement, when he would put away his wife, who mediating between him and his wife, might set them at one again, unless in minds too wayward to be moved by counsels of peace. Thus then He neither completed, by adding words to it, the law of them of old time, nor did He destroy the Law given by Moses by enacting things contrary to it, as Manichaeus affirmed; but rather repeated and approved all that the Hebrew Law contained, so that whatever He spoke in His own person more than it had, had in view either explanation, which in divers obscure places of the Law was greatly needed, or the more punctual observance of its enactments.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 14: By interposing this delay in the mode of putting away, the lawgiver shewed as clearly as it could be shewn to hard hearts, that he hated strife and disagreement. The Lord then so confirms this backwardness in the Law, as to except only one case, “the cause of fornication;” every other inconvenience which may have place, He bids us bear with patience in consideration of the plighted troth of wedlock.

Pseudo-Chrys.: If we ought to bear the burdens of strangers, in obedience to that of the Apostles, “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” [Gal_6:2] how much more that of our wives and husbands? The Christian husband ought not only to keep himself from any defilement, but to be careful not to give others occasion of defilement; for so is their sin imputed to him who gave the occasion. Whoso then by putting away his wife gives another man occasion of committing adultery, is condemned for that crime himself.

Aug.: Yea, more, He declares the man who marries her who is put away an adulterer.

Chrys.: Say not here, It is enough her husband has put her away; for even after she is put away she continues the wife of him that put her away.

Aug.: The Apostle has fixed the limit here, requiring her to abstain from a fresh marriage as long as her husband lives. After his death he allows her to marry. But if the woman may not marry while her former husband is alive, much less may she yield herself to unlawful indulgences. But this command of the Lord, forbidding to put away a wife, is not broken by him who lives with her not carnally but spiritually, in that more blessed wedlock of those that keep themselves chaste.

A question also here arises as to what is that fornication which the Lord allows as a cause of divorce; whether carnal sin, or, according to the Scripture use of the word, any unlawful passion, as idolatry, avarice, in short all transgression of the Law by forbidden desires. For if the Apostle permits the divorce of a wife if she be unbelieving, (though indeed it is better not to put her away,) and the Lord forbids any divorce but for the cause of fornication, unbelief even must be fornication. And if unbelief be fornication, and idolatry unbelief, and covetousness idolatry, it is not to be doubted that covetousness is fornication. And if covetousness be fornication, who may say of any kind of unlawful desire that it is not a kind of fornication?

Aug., Retract., i, 19, 6: Yet I would not have the reader think this disputation of ours sufficient in a matter so arduous; for not every sin is spiritual fornication, nor does God destroy every sinner, for He hears His saints daily crying to Him, “Forgive us our debts;” but every man who goes a whoring and forsakes Him, him He destroys.

Whether this be the fornication for which divorce is allowed is a most knotty question – for it is no question at all that it is allowed for the fornication by carnal sin.

Aug., lib. 83, Quaest. q. ult.: If any affirm that the only fornication for which the Lord allows divorce is that of carnal sin, he may see that the Lord has spoken of believing husbands and wives, forbidding either to leave the other except for fornication.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 16: Not only does He permit to put away a wife who commits fornication, but whoso puts away a wife by whom he is driven to commit fornication, puts her away for the cause of fornication, both for his own sake and hers.

Aug., de Fid. et Op. 16: He also rightly puts away his wife to whom she shall say, I will not be your wife unless you get me money by robbery; or should require any other crime to be done by him. If the husband here be truly penitent, he will cut off the limb that offends him.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., i, 16: Nothing can be more unjust than to put away a wife for fornication, and yourself to be guilty of that sin, for then is that happened, “Wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself.” [Rom_2:1] When He says, “And he who marrieth her who is put away, committeth adultery,” a question arises, does the woman also in this case  commit adultery? For the Apostle directs either that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. There is this difference in the separation, namely, which of them was the cause of it. If the wife put away the husband and marry another, she appears to have left her first husband with the desire of change, which is an adulterous thought. But if she have been put away by her husband, yet he who marries her commits adultery, how can she be quit of the same guilt? And further, if he who marries her commits adultery, she is the cause of his committing adultery, which is what the Lord is here forbidding.

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Part 1: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on the Passion According to St Matthew (on Matt 26:1-75)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 27, 2012

To view Part (on Matt 27:1-66) go here.

Ver  1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,2. “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”

Hilary: After the discourse in which the Lord had declared that He should return in splendour, He announces to them His approaching Passion, that they might learn the close connection between the sacrament of the Cross, and the glory of eternity.

Raban.: “All these sayings,” i.e. about the consummation of the world, and the day of judgment. Or, “finished,” because He had fulfilled in doing and preaching all things from the beginning of the Gospel to His Passion.

Origen: Yet it is not “all” barely, but “all these;” for there were other sayings which He must speak before He should be delivered up.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: We gather from John’s account, that six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, and thence entered Jerusalem sitting upon the ass, after which were done the things related to have been done at Jerusalem. We understand therefore that four days elapsed from His coming to Bethany, to make this two days before the Passover. The difference between the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread is this; the name Passover is given to that one day on which the lamb was slain in the evening, that is, the fourteenth moon of the first month; and on the fifteenth moon, the day that the people came out of Egypt, followed the festival of unleavened bread. But the Evangelists seem to use the terms indifferently. [marg. note: see Acts 12:3]

Jerome: The Passover, called in Hebrew Phase, does not come as most think from  ‘to suffer,’ but from the Hebrew word signifying ‘to pass over;’ because the destroyer passed over when he saw the blood on the doors of the Israelites, and smote them not; or the Lord Himself walked on high, succouring His people.

Remig.: Or, because by the help of the Lord the Israelitish people, freed from Egyptian bondage, passed forth into liberty.

Origen: He said not, “After two days” will be, or will come, “the feast of the Passover,” but not meaning the ordinary annual Passover, but that Passover such as had never before been, “the Passover will be offered.”

Remig.: Mystically, that is called the Passover, because on that day Christ passed out of the world to His Father, from corruption to incorruption, from life to death, or because He redeemed the world by causing it savingly to pass from the slavery of the Devil.

Jerome: After the two days of the shining light of the Old and of the New Testament, the true Passover is slain for the world. Also our Passover is celebrated when we leave the things of earth, and hasten to the things of heaven.

Origen: He foretels His crucifixion to His disciples, adding, “And the Son of Man shall be delivered to be crucified;” thus fortifying them against that shock of surprise, which the sight of their Master, led forth to crucifixion, would otherwise have occasioned them. And He expresses it impersonally “shall be delivered,” because God delivered Him up in mercy to the human race, Judas from covetousness, the Priest for envy, the Devil through fear that through His teaching the human race would be plucked out of His hand, little aware how much more that would be effected by His death, than either by His teaching or miracles.

Ver  3. Then assembled together the Chief Priests, and the Scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the High Priest, who was called Caiaphas,4. And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.5. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

Gloss., non occ.: Then the Evangelist lays before us the hidden springs and machinery by which the Lord’s Passion was brought to pass.

Remig.: This, “then,” is to be referred to the preceding words, and means before the Feast of the Passover.

Origen: Not true Priests and elders, but Priests and elders of what seemed the people of God, but was indeed the people of Gomorrah; these, not knowing God’s High Priest, laid a plot against Him, not recognizing “the firstborn of the whole creation, [Col 1:15] yea, even against Him that was elder than them all, did they take counsel.

Chrys.: With such ill designs they came to the chief Priest, seeking a sanction whence a prohibition should have issued. There were at that time several Chief Priests, while the Law allowed but of one, whence it was manifest that the dissolution of the Jewish state was having its beginning. For Moses had commanded that there should be one Chief Priest, whose office should be filled up at death; but in process of time it grew to be annual. All those then who had been Chief Priests [marg. note: ] are here called “Chief Priests.”

Remig.: They are condemned both because they were gathered together, and because they were the Chief Priests; for the more the numbers, and the higher the rank and station of those who band together for any villainy, the greater the enormity of what they do, and the heavier the punishment stored up for them.  To shew the Lord’s innocence and openness, the Evangelist adds, “that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.”

Chrys.: For what then did they conspire, to seize Him secretly, or put Him to death? For both; but they feared the people, and therefore waited till the feast was over, for “they said, not on the feast-day.” For the Devil would not that Christ should suffer at the Passover, that His Passion might not be notorious. The Chief Priests had no fear in respect of God, namely, that their guilt might be aggravated by the season, but took into account human things only, “Lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Origen: By reason of the parties among the populace, those who favoured and those who hated Christ, those who believed and those who believed not.

Leo, Serm. 58, 2: This precaution of the Chief Priests arose not from reverence for the festival, but, from care for the success of their plot; they feared an insurrection at that season, not because of the guilt the populace might thereby incur, but because they might rescue Christ.

Chrys.: But their fury set aside their caution, and finding a betrayer, they put Christ to death in the middle of the feast.

Leo, Serm. 58, 1: We recognise here a providential arrangement whereby the chief men of the Jews, who had often sought occasion of effecting their cruel purposes against Christ, could never yet succeed till the days of the paschal celebration. For it behoved that the things which had long been promised in symbol and mystery should be accomplished in manifest reality, that the typical lamb should be displaced by the true, and one sacrifice embrace the whole catalogue of the varied victims. That shadows should give way to substance, and copies to the presence of the original; victim is commuted for victim, blood is abolished by blood, and the festival of the Law is at once fulfilled and changed.

Ver  6. Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,7. There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.8. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, “To what purpose is this waste?9. For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.”10. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, “Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.11. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.12. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.13. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.”

Gloss, non. occ.: Having set before us the counsels of the chief of the Jews concerning the death of Christ, the Evangelist would proceed to follow out their execution, and to relate the bargain of Judas with the Jews to deliver Him up, but be first shews the cause of this betrayal. He was grieved that the ointment which the woman poured upon Christ’s head had not been sold that he might have carried off something out of the price it brought, and to make up this loss he was willing to betray his Master.  And therefore he proceeds, “Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper.”

Jerome: Not that he was a leper yet, but having been so, and having been healed by the Saviour, be retained the appellation to shew forth the power of Him who healed him.

Raban.: “Alabaster” is a kind of marble, white but marked with veins of different colours, which was in use for vessels to hold ointment, because it was said to preserve it from corruption.

Jerome: Another Evangelist instead of ‘alabastruin’ has ‘nardum pisticam,’ that is, genuine, unadulterated. [marg. note: John 12:3]

Raban.: From the Greek,  faith, whence ‘pisticus,’ faithful. For this ointment was pure, unadulterated.

Origen: Some one may perhaps think that there are four different women of whom the Evangelists have written, but I rather agree with those who think that they are only three; one of whom Matthew and Mark wrote, one of whom Luke, another of whom John.

Jerome: For let no one think that she who anointed His head and she who anointed His feet were one and the same; for the latter washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and is plainly said to have been a harlot. But of this woman nothing of this kind is recorded, and indeed a harlot could not have at once been made deserving of the Lord’s head.

Ambrose, Ambros. in Luc. 7, 37: It is possible therefore that they were different persons, and so all appearance of contradiction between the Evangelists is removed. Or it is possible that it was the same woman at two different times and two different stages of desert; first while yet a sinner, afterwards more advanced.

Chrys., Hom. lxxx: And in this way it may be the same in the three Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And not without good reason does the Evangelist mention Simon’s leprosy, to shew what gave this woman confidence to come to Christ. The leprosy was an unclean disease; when then she saw that Jesus had healed the man with whom He now lodged, she trusted that He could also cleanse the uncleanness of her soul; and so whereas other women came to Christ to be healed in their bodies, she came only for the honour and the healing of her soul, having nothing diseased in her body; and for this she is worthy our highest admiration. But she in John is a different woman, the wonderful sister of Lazarus.

Origen: Matthew and Mark relate that this was done in the house of Simon the leper; but John says that Jesus came to a house where Lazarus was; and that not Simon, but Mary and Martha served. Further, according to John, six days before the Passover, He came to Bethany where Mary and Martha made Him a supper. But here it is in the house of Simon the leper, and two days before the Passover.

And in Matthew and Mark, it is the disciples that have indignation with a good intent; in John, Judas alone with intent to steal; in Luke, no one finds fault.

Greg., Hom. in Ev., xxxiii, 1: Or, we may think that this is the same woman whom Luke calls a “sinner,” and John names Mary.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 79: Though the action described in Luke is the same as that described here, and the name of him with whom the Lord supped is the same, for Luke also names Simon; yet because it is not contrary to either nature or custom for two men to bear the same name, it is more probable that this was another Simon, not the leper, in whose house in Bethany these things were done.

I would only suppose that the woman who on that occasion came near to Jesus’ feet, and this woman, were not two different persons, but that the same Mary did this twice. The first time is that narrated by Luke; for John mentions it in praise of Mary before Christ’s coming to Bethany, “It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” [John 11:2] Mary therefore had done this before. That she did afterwards in Bethany is distinct from Luke’s account, but is the same event that is recorded by all three, John, Matthew, and Mark. That Matthew and Mark say it was the Lord’s head that she anointed, and John His feet, is reconciled by supposing that she anointed both.

Against this one might raise a cavil from what Mark says, that she anointed His head by breaking the box over it, so that there could be none of the ointment left with which to anoint His feet also. Let such caviller understand, that His feet were first anointed before the box was broken, and there remained in it, yet whole, enough wherewith to anoint the head by breaking the box and shedding the contents.

Aug., de Doctr. Christ., iii, 12: But let not any suppose that the Lord’s feet were by this woman bathed in ointment after the manner which the luxurious and debauched use. In all things of this nature, it is not the thing itself, but the mind of him who uses it, that is in fault. Whoso uses things after such sort as to pass the bounds observed by good men with whom he lives, either has some meaning [marg. note: aliquid significat] in what he does, or is vicious. What then is vice in others, in a divine or prophetic person is a sign of some great thing.

The good odour is the good report which one has gained by the works of a good life, and in following Christ’s footsteps sheds a most precious odour on His feet.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: Still there may seem to be some discrepancy between the narrative of Matthew and Mark, who say, that “after two days is the feast of the Passover,” and then bring Jesus to Bethany; and that of John, who, relating this history of the ointment, says “Six days before the Passover.”

They who urge this do not understand that the events in Bethany are in Matthew and Mark inserted out of their place, a little later than the time of their occurrence. Neither of them, it is to be observed, introduce their account with ‘afterwards.’

Chrys.: The disciples had heard their Master say, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,” [Matt 9:13] wherefore they thought among themselves, If He accepts not burnt-offerings, much less will He the application of such ointment as this.

Jerome: I know that some raise a cavil here, because John says that Judas alone was grieved because he had the bag, and was a thief from the beginning; but Matthew, that all the disciples were sorrowful. These know not the figure syllepsis, by which one name is put for many, and many for one; as Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews says, “They were sawn asunder,” [Heb 11:37] when it is thought that one only, Esaias namely, was so.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 79: We may however understand that the other disciples thought or said the same, or that they assented to what Judas said, and thus Matthew and Mark have described their common consent. But Judas said it because he was a thief, the others out of their care for the poor; and John desired to mention it only in the case of him whose thievish propensity he thought ought to be recorded.

Chrys.: The disciples then thought thus, but Jesus, who saw the thoughts of the woman, suffered it. For her piety was great, and her ardour unspeakable, wherefore He condescended to suffer her to pour the ointment on His head. As the Father admitted the smoke and odour of the slain victim, so also Christ admitted this votive anointing of His head, though the disciples, who saw not her heart, murmured.

Remig.: He clearly shews that the Apostles had uttered something harsh against her, when He says, “Why trouble ye the woman?” And beautifully He adds, “She hath wrought a good work in me;” as much as to say, It is not a waste of ointment, as ye say, but a good work, that is, a service of piety and devotion.

Chrys.: And He says not merely, “She hath wrought a good work,” but says first, “Why trouble ye the woman?” to teach us that every good act that is wrought by any, even though it lack somewhat of exact propriety, yet we ought to receive, cherish, and cultivate it, and not to require strict correctness in a beginner. If He had been asked before this was done by the woman, He would not have directed its doing; but when it was done, the rebuke of the disciples had no longer any place, and He Himself to guard the woman from importunate attacks speaks these things for her comfort.

Remig.: “For the poor ye have ever with you.” The Lord shews in these words as of set purpose, that they were not to be blamed who ministered of their substance to Him while He dwelt in a mortal body; forasmuch as the poor were ever in the Church, to whom the believers might do good whensoever they would, but He would abide in the body with them but a very short time.  Whence it follows, “But me ye shall not have always.”

Jerome: Here a question arises how the Lord should have said elsewhere to His disciples, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world;” [Matt 28:20] but here, “Me ye shall not have always.”

I suppose that in this place He speaks of His bodily presence, which shall not be with them after the resurrection in daily intercourse and friendship, as it is now.

Remig.: Or, it is to be explained by supposing this spoken to Judas only; and He said not, Ye have not, but “Ye shall not have,” because this was spoken in the person of Judas to all his followers. And He says, “Not always,” though they have it at no time, because the wicked seem to have Christ in this present world, while they mix among His members and approach His table, but they shall not always so have Him when He shall say to His elect, “Come, ye blessed of my Father.” [Matt 25:34]

It was the custom among this people to embalm the bodies of the dead with divers spices, to the end that they might be kept from corruption as long as possible. And as this woman was desirous of embalming the Lord’s dead Body, and would not be able because she would be anticipated by His resurrection, it was therefore arranged by Divine Providence that she should anoint the Lord’s living Body. This then is what He says, “In that she hath poured,” that is, By anointing My living Body she shews forth My death and burial.

Chrys.: That this mention of His death and burial might not cause her to despond, He comforts her by what follows, “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever &c.”

Raban.: That is, To whatsoever place throughout the whole world the Church shall be propagated, there this also that she hath done shall be told. That also that is added signifies, that as Judas by his reproof of her has earned evil character of treachery, so has she also earned the glory of pious devotedness.

Jerome: Note His knowledge of things to come, how though about to suffer death within two days, He knows that His Gospel will be preached throughout the whole world.

Chrys.: Behold the accomplishment of this saying; to whatsoever part of the world you go, you will find this woman famous, and this has been wrought by the power of Him who spake this word. How many victories of kings and captains have passed into oblivion; how many who built cities and enslaved many nations are now known neither by report nor by name; but the deed of this woman pouring forth ointment in the house of a leper in the presence of twelve men, this resounds throughout the world, and though so much time has elapsed, the memory of that which was done is not effaced.

But why promised He no spiritual gift to this woman, but everlasting remembrance only? Because this He did promise made her confident of receiving the other also; whereas she wrought a good work, it is clear that she shall receive an adequate reward.

Jerome: Mystically; The Lord, about to suffer for the whole world, sojourns in Bethany, in the house of obedience, which once was that of Simon the leper. Simon also is interpreted ‘obedient,’ or, according to another interpretation, ‘the world,’ in whose house the Church is healed.

Origen: Oil is throughout Scripture put for the work of mercy, with which the lamp of the word is fed; or for doctrine, the hearing of which sustains the word of faith when once kindled. All with which men anoint is comprehensively called oil; and one kind of oil is unguent, and one kind of unguent is precious. So all righteous acts are called good works; and of good works there is one kind which we do for, or to, men; another which we do for, or to, God. And this likewise that we do for God, in part only advances the good of men, in part, the glory of God.

For example, one does a kindness to a man out of feelings of natural righteousness, not for God’s sake, as the Gentiles sometime did; such a work is common oil of no fine savour, yet is it acceptable to God, forasmuch, as Peter says in Clement, the good works that the unbelievers do, profit them in this world, but avail not to gain them eternal life in another. They who do the same for God’s sake, profit thereby not in this world only but in the next also, and that they do is ointment of good savour.

Another sort is that done for the good of men, as alms, and the like. He who does this to Christians, anoints the Lord’s feet, for they are the Lord’s feet; and this penitents are most found to do for remission of their sins. He who devotes himself to chastity, and continues in fastings and prayers, and other things which conduce to God’s glory only, this is the ointment which anoints the Lord’s head, and with whose odour the whole Church is filled; this is the work meet not for penitents, but for the perfect, or the doctrine which is necessary for men; but the acknowledgment of the faith which belongs to God alone, is the ointment with which the head of Christ is anointed, with which we “are buried together with Christ by baptism into death.” [Rom 6:4]

Hilary: In this woman is prefigured the people of the Gentiles, who gave glory to God in Christ’s passion; for she anointed His head, but the head of Christ is God, and ointment is the fruit of good works. But the disciples, anxious for the salvation of Israel, say that this ought to have been sold for the use of the poor; designating by a prophetic instinct the Jews, who lacked faith, by the name of the poor. The Lord answers that there is abundant time in which they may shew their care for the poor, but that salvation cannot be extended to the Gentiles but by obedience to His command, if, that is, by the pouring out of this woman’s ointment they are buried together with Him, because regeneration can only be given to those who are dead in the profession of baptism. And this her work shall be told wherever this Gospel is preached, because when Israel draws back, the glory of the Gospel is preached by the belief of the Gentiles.

Ver  14. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the Chief Priests,15. And said unto them, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Gloss., non. occ.: Having described the occasion of his treachery, the Evangelist proceeds to recount the manner of it.

Chrys.: “Then,” when, that is, he heard that this Gospel should be preached every where; for that made him afraid, as it was indeed a mark of unspeakable power.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: The order of the narrative is this. The Lord says, “Ye know that after two days will be the feast of the Passover; . . . then assembled together the Chief Priests and Scribes; . . . then went one of the twelve.”

Thus the narrative of what took place at Bethany is inserted by way of digression, respecting an earlier time between that, “Lest there be an uproar,” and, “Then one of the twelve.”

Origen: “Went,” against that one high priest, who was made a Priest for ever, to many high priests, to sell for a price Him who sought to redeem the whole world.

Raban.: “Went,” he says, because he was neither compelled, nor invited, but of his own free will formed the wicked design.

Chrys.: “One of the twelve,” as much as to say, of that first band who are elected for preeminent merit.

Gloss, non. occ: He adds his distinctive appellation, “Scarioth,” for there was another Judas.

Remig.: So called from the village Scariotha, from which he came.

Leo, Serm., 60, 4: He did not out of any fear forsake Christ, but through lust of money cast Him off; for in comparison of the love of money all our affections are feeble; the soul athirst for gain fears not to die for a very little; there is no  trace of righteousness in that heart in which covetousness has once taken up its abode. The traitor Judas, intoxicated with this bane, in his thirst for lucre was so foolishly hardened, as to sell his Lord and Master.

Jerome: The wretched Judas would fain replace, by the sale of his Master, that loss which he supposed he had incurred by the ointment. And he does not demand any fixed sum, lest his treachery should seem a gainful thing, but as though delivering up a worthless slave, he left it to those who bought, to determine how much they would give.

Origen: The same do all who take any material or worldly things to cast out of their thoughts the Saviour and the word of truth which was in them. “And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver,” as many pieces as the Saviour had dwelt years in the world.

[ed. note: i.e. Before He began His ministry, as what follows in Origen shews. For though Origen had at one time considered the duration of Our Lord’s ministry not to have exceeded one year and a few months, he had changed that opinion before this commentary on S. Matt. was written. In it he more than once mentions three years as the probable period. vid. Comm. in Matt. Ser., sect 40]

Jerome: Joseph was not sold as many, following the LXX [septuagint], think for twenty pieces of gold, but as the Hebrew text has for twenty pieces of silver, [marg. note: Gen 37:28] for it could not be that the servant should be more valuable than his Master.

Aug., Quaest Ev., i, 41: That the Lord was sold for thirty pieces of silver by Judas, denotes the unrighteous Jews, who pursuing things carnal and temporal, which belong to the five bodily senses, refuse to have Christ; and forasmuch as they did this in the sixth age of the world, their receiving five times six as the price of the Lord is thus signified; and because the Lord’s words are silver, but they understood even the Law carnally, they had, as it were, stamped on silver the image of that worldly dominion which they held to when they renounced the Lord.

Origen: The “opportunity” which Judas sought is further explained by Luke, “how he might betray him in the absence of the multitude;” [Luke 22:6] when the populace was not with Him, but He was withdrawn with His disciples. And this he did, delivering Him up after supper, when He was withdrawn to the garden of Gethsemane. And from that time forward, such has been the season sought for by those that would betray the word of God in time of persecution, when the multitude of believers is not around the word of truth.

Ver  17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?”18. And he said, “Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.”19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.

Gloss., non occ.: The Evangelist having gone through the events preliminary to the Passion, namely, the announcement of the counsel of the Chief Priests, and the covenant for His betrayal, prosecutes the history in the order of events, saying, “On the first day of unleavened bread.”

Jerome: The first day of unleavened bread is the fourteenth day of the first month, when the lamb is killed, the moon is at full, and leaven is put away.

Remig.: And observe that with the Jews, the Passover is celebrated on the first day, and the following seven are called the days of unleavened bread; but here the first day of unleavened bread means the day of the Passover.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxi: Or, by “the first day,” he means the day before the days of unleavened bread. For the Jews always reckoned their day from the evening; and this day of which he speaks was that on the evening of which they were to kill the Passover, namely, the fifth day of the week.

[ed. note: This passage has been altered by the text of S. Chrys. The Catena has, ‘Vel hanc primam diem azymorum dicit quia septem dies azymorum erant.”]

REMIG. But perhaps some one will say, If that typical lamb bore a type of this the true lamb, how did not Christ suffer on the night on which this was always killed? It is to be noted, that on this night, He committed to His disciples the mysteries of His flesh and blood to be celebrated, and then also being seized and bound by the Jews, He hallowed the commencement of His sacrifice, i.e. His Passion. “The disciples came” unto him;” among these no doubt was the traitor Judas.

Chrys.: Hence it is evident that He had neither house nor lodging. Nor, I conclude, had the disciples any, for they would surely have invited Him thither.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 80: “Go into the city to such a man,” Him whom Mark and Luke call “the good-man of the house,” or “the I master of the house.” And when Matthew says, “to such a man,” he is to be understood to say this as from himself for brevity’s sake; for every one knows that no man speaks thus, “Go ye to such a man.” And Matthew adds these words, “to such a man,” not that the Lord used the very expression, but to convey to us that the disciples were not sent to any one in the city, but to some certain person.

Chrys.: Or, we may say that this, “to such a man,” shews that He sent them to some person unknown to them, teaching them thereby that He was able to avoid His Passion. For He who prevailed with this man to entertain Him, how could He not have prevailed with those who crucified Him, had He chosen not to suffer? Indeed, I marvel not only that he entertained Him, being a stranger, but that he did it in contempt of the hatred of the multitude.

Hilary: Or, Matthew does not name the man in whose house Christ would celebrate the Passover, because the Christian name was not yet held in honour by the believers.

Raban.: Or, he omits the name, that all who would fain celebrate the true Passover, and receive Christ within the dwelling place of their own minds, should understand that the opportunity is afforded them.

Jerome: In this also the New Scripture observes the practice of the Old, in which we frequently read, ‘He said unto him,’ and ‘In this or that place,’ without any name of person or place.

Chrys.: “My time is at hand,” this He said, both by so manifold announcements of His Passion, fortifying His disciples against the event, and at the same time shewing that He undertook it voluntarily. “I will keep the Passover at thy house,” wherein we see, that to the very last day He was not disobedient to the Law. “With my disciples,” He adds, that there might be sufficient preparation made, and that he to whom He sent might not think that He desired to be concealed.

Origen: Some one may argue [marg. note: e.g. The Ebionites], that because Jesus kept the Passover with Jewish observances, we ought to do the same as followers of Christ, not remembering that Jesus was “made under the Law,” though not that He should leave “under the Law” [Gal 4:4] those who were under it, but should “lead them out” of it; how much less fitting then is it, that those who before were without the Law, should afterwards enter in? We celebrate spiritually the things which were carnally celebrated in the Law, keeping the Passover “in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” [1 Cor 5:8] according to the will of the Lamb, who said, “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall not have life in you.” [John 6:53]

Ver  20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.21. And as they did eat, he said, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.”22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, “Lord, is it I?”23. And he answered and said, “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.24. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.”25. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, “Master, is it I?” He said unto him, “Thou hast said.”

Jerome: The Lord had above foretold His Passion, He now foretels who is to be the traitor; thus giving him place of repentance, when he should see that his thoughts and the secret designs of his heart were known.Remig.: “With the twelve,” it is said, for Judas was personally among them, though he had ceased to be so in merit.

Jerome: Judas acts in every thing to remove all suspicion of his treachery.

Remig.: And it is beautifully said, “When even was come,” because it was in the evening that the Lamb was wont to be slain.

Raban.: For this reason also, because in Christ’s Passion, wherein the true sun hasted to his setting, eternal refreshment was made ready for all believers.

Chrys.: The Evangelist relates how as they sat at meat, Jesus declares Judas’ treachery, that the wickedness of the betrayer may be more apparent from the season and the circumstances.

Leo, Serm. 58, 3: He shews that the conscience of His betrayer was known to Him, not meeting his wickedness with a harsh and open rebuke, that penitence might find a readier way to one who had not been disgraced by public dismissal.

Origen: Or, He spoke generally, to prove the nature of each of their hearts, and to evince the wickedness of Judas, who would not believe in One who knew his heart. I suppose that at first he supposed that the thing was hid from Him, deeming Him man, which was of unbelief; but when he saw that his heart was known, he embraced the concealment offered by this general way of speaking, which was shamelessness.

This also shews the goodness of the disciples, that they believed Christ’s words more than their own consciences, “for they began each to say, Lord, is it I?” For they knew by what Jesus had taught them that human nature is readily turned to evil, and is in continual struggle with “the rulers of the darkness of this world;” [Eph 6:12] whence they ask as in fear, for by reason of our weakness the future is an object of dread to us.

When the Lord saw the disciples thus alarmed for themselves, He pointed out the traitor by the mark of the prophetic declaration, “He that hath eaten bread with me hath wantonly overthrown me.” [Ps 41:9]

Jerome: O wonderful endurance of the Lord, He had said before, “One of you shall betray me.” The traitor perseveres in his wickedness; He designates him more particularly, yet not by name. For Judas, while the rest were sorrowful, and withdrew their hands, and bid away the food from their months, with the same hardihood and recklessness which led him to betray Him, reached forth his hand into the dish with his Master, passing off his audacity as a good conscience.

Chrys.: I rather think that Christ did this out of regard for him, and to bring him to a better mind.

Raban.: What Matthew calls ‘paropsis,’ Mark calls ‘catinus.’ The ‘paropsis’ is a square dish for meat, ‘catinus,’ an earthen vessel for containing fluids; this then might be a square earthen vessel.

Origen: Such is the wont of men of exceeding wickedness, to plot against those of whose bread and salt they have partaken, and especially those who have no enmity against them. But if we take it of the spiritual table, and the spiritual food, we shall see the more abundant and overflowing measure of this man’s wickedness, who called to mind neither his Master’s love in providing carnal goods, nor His teaching in things spiritual. Such are all in the Church who lay snares for their brethren whom they continually meet at the same table of Christ’s Body.

Jerome: Judas, not withheld by either the first or second warning, perseveres in his treachery; the Lord’s long-suffering nourishes his audacity. Now then his punishment is foretold, that denunciations of wrath may correct where good feeling has no power.

Remig.: It belongs to human nature to come and go, Divine nature remains ever the same. So because His human nature could suffer and die, therefore of the Son of Man it is well said that “he goeth.” He says plainly, “As it is written of him,” for all that He suffered had been foretold by the Prophets.

Chrys.: This He said to comfort His disciples, that they might not think that it was through weakness that He suffered; and at the same time for the correction of His betrayer. And notwithstanding His Passion had been foretold, Judas is still guilty; and not his betrayal wrought our salvation, but God’s providence, which used the sins of others to our profit.

Origen: He said not, By whom “the Son of Man is betrayed,” but “through whom,” [John 13:2] pointing out another, to wit the Devil, as the author of His betrayal, Judas as the minister. But woe also to all betrayers of Christ! and such is every one who betrays a disciple of Christ.

Remig.: Woe also to all who draw near to Christ’s table with an evil and defiled conscience! who though they do not deliver Christ to the Jews to be crucified, deliver Him to their own sinful members to be taken. He adds, to give more emphasis, “Good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

Jerome: We are not to infer from this that man has a being before birth; for it cannot be well with any man till he has a being; it simply implies that it is better not to be, than to be in evil.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 40: And if it be contended that there is a life before this life, that will prove that not only not for Judas, but for none other is it good to have been born. Can it mean, that it were better for him not to have been born to the Devil, namely, for sin? Or does it mean that it had been good for him not to have been born to Christ at his calling, that he should now become apostate?

Origen: After all the Apostles had asked, and after Christ had spoken of him, Judas at length enquired of himself, with the crafty design of concealing his treacherous purpose by asking the same question as the rest; for real sorrow brooks not suspense.

Jerome: His question feigns either great respect, or a hypocritical incredulousness. The rest who were not to betray Him, said only “Lord;” the actual traitor addresses Him as “Master,” as though it were some excuse that he denied Him as Lord, and betrayed a Master only.

Origen: Or, out of sycophancy he calls Him Master, while be holds Him unworthy of the title.

Chrys.: Though the Lord could have said, Hast thou covenanted to receive silver, and darest to ask Me this? But Jesus, most merciful, said nothing of all this, therein laying down for us rules and landmarks of endurance of evil.  “He saith unto him, Thou hast said.”

Remig.: Which may be understood thus; Thou sayest it, and thou sayest what is true; or, Thou hast said this, not I; leaving him room for repentance so long as his villainy was not publicly exposed.

Raban.: This might have been so said by Judas, and answered by the Lord as not to be overheard by the rest.

26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

Jerome: When the typical Passover was concluded, and He had partaken of the Lamb with His Apostles, He comes to the true paschal sacrament; that, as Melchisedech [marg. note: Gen 14:18], Priest of the most high God, had done in foreshadowing Christ, offering bread and wine, He also should offer the present verity of His Body and Blood.

[ed. note: Many of the passages here quoted appear to have been taken by S. Thomas from the Decretum of Gratian, though the Catena gives no reference to this compilation. Whenever they can be found, the originals are referred to in the margin, and the important differences or additions are noticed in the note. The present passage from S. Jerome (in Joe.) is found in Gratian. de Cons. ii. 88; that which follows from S. Augustine, ibid, 53. The next passage headed ‘Gloss.’ cannot be found any where.]

Aug., Ep. 54, 7: “And as they were eating,” whereby it is clearly seen that at their first partaking of the Lord’s Body and Blood, the disciples did not partake fasting. But are we therefore to except against the practice of the whole Church, of receiving fasting? It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost, that for the better honour of so great a Sacrament, the Lord`s Body should enter the Christian’s mouth before other food. For to commend more mightily the depth of this mystery, the Saviour chose this as the last thing He would imprint on the hearts and memory of His disciples, from whom He was to depart to His Passion. But He did not direct in what order it should thenceforth be taken, that He might reserve that for the Apostles by whom He would regulate His Church.

Gloss., non occ.: Christ delivered to us His Flesh and Blood under another kind, and ordained them to be thenceforth so received, that faith might have its merit, which is of things that are not seen.

Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., vi, 1 [ed. note: S. Ambrose’s name has been retained at the head of the passages out of the Treatise ‘De Sacramentis,’ because it is placed in the Ben. ed. among the genuine works of S. Ambrose, and not in the Appendix. But there seems to be little doubt of its spuriousness. See Jenkyns’ note to Cranmer’s ‘Defence, &c.’ in Cranmer’s Works, ii. 326]: And that we might not be shocked by the sight of blood, while it at the same time wrought the price of our redemption.

Aug., in Joan. Tr. 26, 17, cf Serm. 227, 1: The Lord committed His Body and Blood to substances which are formed a homogeneous compound out of many. Bread is made of many grains, wine is produced out of many berries. Herein the Lord Jesus Christ signified us, and hallowed in His Own table the mystery of our peace and unity.

Remig.: Fittingly also did He offer fruit of the earth, to shew thereby that He came to take away the curse wherewith the earth was cursed for the sin of the first man. Also He bade be offered the produce of the earth, and the things for which men chiefly toil, that there might be no difficulty in procuring them, and that men might offer sacrifice to God of the work of their hands.

Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., iv, 3: Hence learn that the Christian mysteries were before the Jewish. Melchisedech offered bread and wine, being in all things like the Son of God, to Whom it is said, “Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech;” [Ps 110:4] and of Whom it is here said, “Jesus took bread.” [John 12:24]

Gloss., non occ.: [ed. note: This Gloss is partly from the Gloss on Gratian de Cons. d. ii. c. 5. The next passage is headed ‘Gregorius in Registro’ in the editions, and is so quoted by S. Thomas, Summa 3. q. 74. art. 4. but cannot be found in S. Greg.]

This, we must understand to be wheat bread for the Lord compared Himself to a grain of wheat, saying, “Except a corn fall into the ground &c.” Such bread also is suitable for the Sacrament, because it is in common use; bread of other kinds being only made when this fails. But forasmuch as Christ up to the very last day, to use the words of Chrysostom as above [marg. note: shewed that He did nothing contrary to the Law, and the Law commanded that unleavened bread should be eaten in the evening when the Passover was slain, and that all leavened should be put away, it is manifest that the bread which the Lord took and gave to His disciples was unleavened.

Greg., non occ.: It has given trouble to divers persons, that in the Church some offer unleavened and others leavened bread. The Roman Church offers unleavened, because the Lord took flesh without any pollution [marg. note: commixtione]; other [marg. note: Graecaesc] Churches offer leavened bread, because the Word of the Father took flesh upon Him, and is Very God, and Very Man; and so the leaven is mingled with the flour. But whether we receive leavened or unleavened, we are made one body of the Lord our Saviour.

Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., iv, 4: This bread before the sacramentary words, is the bread in common use; after consecration it is made of bread Christ’s flesh. And what are the words, or whose are the phrases of consecration, save those of the Lord Jesus? For if His word had power to make those things begin to be which were not, how much rather will it not be efficacious to cause them to remain what they are, while they are at the same time changed into somewhat else? For if the heavenly word has been effectual in other matters, is it ineffectual in heavenly sacraments? Therefore of the bread is made the Body of Christ, and the wine is made blood by the consecration of the heavenly word.

[ed. note: ap. Grat. ibid. 54. On this remarkable passage it may be observed, first, S. Ambrose is referring to the creation, and his meaning is, “If his word had power to make these things,” i.e. heaven and earth, “begin to be, which were not, how much rather is it not efficacious to make those things,” i.e. the bread, not begin, but “continue to be, which were already, and are but changed into something else?”

2. Next he illustrates the change by our own change in regeneration. “Tu ipse eras, sed eras vetus creatura; postea quam consecratus es, nova creatura esse cepisti.”

3. There is no introduction of the word “substance,” i.e. no assertion of transubstantiation.]

Dost thou enquire after the manner? Learn. The course of nature is, that a man is not born but of man and woman, but by God’s will Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and a Virgin.

Paschasius: As then real flesh was created by the Holy Spirit without sexual union, so by the same Holy Spirit the substance of bread and wine are consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ. And because this consecration is made by the Lords word, it is added, “He blessed.”

[ed. note: This passage is quoted in the Bodl. MS. and early editions of the Cat., as ‘Augustinus in Verb. Dom.’ Gratian also (de Cons. d. ii. 72.) gives it as Augustine’s, but the earliest author in whom it is found is Paschasius Radbertus, Abbot of Corbey, and a well-known writer of the ninth century, ‘De Corpore et Sanguine Dom.’ 4.]

Remig.: Hereby He shewed also that He together with the Father and the Holy Spirit has filled human nature with the grace of His divine power, and enriched it with the boon of immortality. And to shew that His Body was not subject to passion but of His own will, it is added, “And brake.”

Lanfranc: When the host is broken, when the blood is poured from the cup into the mouth of the faithful, what else is denoted but the offering of the Lord’s Body on the cross, and the shedding of His Blood out of His side?

[ed. note: This is quoted in the early editions, and in Gratian de Cons. ii. 37. as Augustinus ‘in Libro Sent. Prosper.’ but does not occur in that collection of Prosper as we have it. It is found in Lanfranc cont. Bereng. 13.]

Dionysius, Eccl. Hier., 3, in fin: In this is also shewn, that the one and uncompounded Word of God came to us compounded and visible by taking human nature upon Him, and drawing to Himself our society, made us partakers of the spiritual goods which He distributed, as it follows, “And gave to his disciples.”

Leo, Serm. 58, 3: Not excluding the traitor even from this mystery, that it might be made manifest that Judas was provoked by no wrong, but that he had been foreknown in voluntary impiety.

Aug., in Joan Tr., 59: Peter and Judas received of the same bread, but Peter to life, Judas to death.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxii: And this John shews when be says “After the sop, Satan entered into him.” [John 13:27] For his sin was aggravated in that he came near to these mysteries with such a heart, and that having come to them, he was made better neither by fear, kindness, nor honour. Christ hindered him not, though He knew all things, that you may learn that He omits nothing which serves for correction.

Remig.: In so doing He left an example to the Church, that it should sever no one from its fellowship, or from the communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, but for some notorious and public crime.

Hilary: Or, The Passover was concluded by the taking the cup and breaking the bread without Judas, for he was unworthy the communion of eternal sacraments. And that he had left them we learn from thence, that he returns with a multitude.

Aug.: [ed. note: This passage, headed ‘Augustinus’ in the Bodl. MS., and ‘Aug de Verb. Dom.’ in the earlier editions, is apparently taken from two canons in the 3d pt. of Gratian, viz. c. 70. and c. 58. to which Augustine’s name is there prefixed. It has not been found in S. Augustine’s works. But it is found in Bede on I Cor. x. who also quotes it from ‘Aug. de verb. Evang.’]

“And said, Take, eat;” The Lord invites His servants to set before them Himself for food. But who would dare to eat his Lord? This food when eaten refreshes, but fails not; He lives after being eaten, Who rose again after being put to death. Neither when we eat Him do we divide His substance; but thus it is in this Sacrament. The faithful know how they feed on Christ’s flesh, each man receives a part for himself. He is divided into parts in the Sacrament, yet He remains whole; He is all in heaven, He is all in thy heart.

They are called Sacraments, because in them what is seen is one thing, what is understood is another; what is seen has a material form, what is understood has spiritual fruit.

Aug., in Joan. Tr., 27, 11: Let us not eat Christ’s flesh only in the Sacrament, for that do many wicked men, but let us eat to spiritual participation, that we may abide as members in the Lord’s body, that we may be quickened by His Spirit.

Ambrose, de Sacr., iv, 5: Before consecration, it is bread; after Christ’s words, “This is my body,” have been pronounced, it is Christ’s Body.

Ver  27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all of it;28. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Remig.: The Lord having given His disciples His Body under the element of bread [marg. note: sub specie panis], well gives the cup of His Blood to them likewise; shewing what joy He has in our salvation, seeing He even shed His Blood for us.

Chrys.: He gave thanks to instruct us after what manner we ought to celebrate this mystery, and shewed also thereby that He came not to His Passion against His will. Also He taught us to bear whatsoever we suffer with thanksgiving, and infused into us good hopes.

For if the type of this sacrifice, to wit, the offering of the paschal lamb, became the deliverance of the people from Egyptian bondage, much more shall the reality thereof be the deliverance of the world.

“And gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.” That they should not be distressed at hearing this, He first drank His own blood to lead them without fear to the communion of these mysteries.

Jerome, Hieron. Ep. 120, ad Hedib: Thus then the Lord Jesus was at once guest and feast, the eater and the things eaten. [ed. note: ap. Grat. do Consecr. d. ii. 87.]

Chrys.: “This is my blood of the new testament;” that is, the new promise, covenant, law; for this blood was promised from of old, and this guarantees the new covenant; for as the Old Testament had the blood of sheep and goats, so the New has the Lord’s Blood.

Remig.: For thus it is read, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you.” [Ex 24:8]

Chrys.: And in calling it blood, He foreshews His Passion, “My blood … which shall be shed for many.” Also the purpose for which He died, adding, “For the remission of sins;” as much as to say, The blood of the lamb was shed in Egypt for the salvation of the first born of the Israelites, this My Blood is shed for the remission of sins.

Remig.: And it is to be noted, that He says not, For a few, nor, For all, but, “For many;” because He came not to redeem a single nation, but many out of all nations.

Chrys.: Thus saying, He shews that His Passion is a mystery of the salvation of men, by which also He comforts His disciples. And as Moses said, “This shall be an ordinance to thee for ever,” [Ex 12:24] so Christ speaks as Luke relates, “This do in remembrance of me.” [Luke 22:19]

Remig.: And He taught us to offer not bread only, but wine also, to shew that they who hungered and thirsted after righteousness were to be refreshed by these mysteries.

Gloss., non occ.: As the refreshment of the body is wrought  by means of meat and drink, so under the form of meat and drink the Lord has provided for us spiritual refreshment. And it was suitable that for the shewing forth the Lord’s Passion this Sacrament should be instituted under both kinds.

For in His Passion He shed His Blood, and so His Blood was separated from His Body. It behoved therefore, that for representation of His Passion, bread and wine should be separately set forth, which are the Sacrament of the Body and Blood. But it should be known, that under both kinds the whole of Christ is contained; under the bread is contained the Blood, together with the Body; under the wine, the Body together With the Blood.

Ambrosiaster, in 1 Cor 11:26 : And for this reason also in do we celebrate under both kinds, because that which we receive avails for the preservation of both body and soul.

Cyprian, Ep. 63, ad Caecil.: The cup of the Lord is not water only, or wine only, but the two are mixed; so the Lord’s Body cannot be either flour only, or water only, but the two are combined.

[ed. note: To signify, as S. Cyprian proceeds to say, the union between Christ and His faithful people; “For if one offer wine only, the blood of Christ begins to be without us; if water only, the people begin to be without Christ.” This passage of Cyprian is quoted in Gratian. de Cons ii. 7.]

Ambrose, de Sacr., v. 1: If Melchisedech offered bread and wine, what means this mixing of water? Hear the reason. Moses struck the rock, and the rock gave forth abundance of water, but that rock was Christ. Also one of the soldiers with his spear pierced Christ’s side, and out of His side flowed water and blood, the water to cleanse, the blood to redeem.

[ed. note: ap. Gratian de Cons. d ii, 83, cf. Paschas de Corp. et Sang. 11]

Remig.: For it should be known, that as John speaks, “The many waters are nations and people.” [Rev 17:15] And because we ought always to abide in Christ and Christ in us, wine mixed with water is offered, to shew that the bead and the members, that is, Christ and the Church, are one body; or to shew that neither did Christ suffer without a love for our redemption, nor we can be saved without His Passion.

Chrys.: And having spoken of His Passion and Cross, He proceeds to speak of His resurrection, “I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth, &c.” By the “kingdom” He means His resurrection. And He speaks this of His resurrection, because He would then drink with the Apostles, that none might suppose His  resurrection a phantasy.

Thus when they would convince any of His resurrection, they said, “We did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.” [Acts 10:41] This tells them that they shall see Him after He is risen, and that He will be again with them.

That He says, “New,” is plainly to be understood, after a new manner, He no longer having a passible body, or needing food. For after His resurrection He did not eat as needing food, but to evidence the reality of the resurrection. And forasmuch as there are some heretics who use water instead of wine in the sacred mysteries [ed. note: e.g. The Encratites, followers of Saturnius and Tatian in the second century. See Can. Apost. 43 and 45 of Johnson’s Translation.], He shews in these words, that when He now gave them these holy mysteries, He gave them wine, and drank the like after He was risen; for He says, “Of this fruit of the vine,” but the vine produces wine, and not water.

Jerome: Or otherwise; From carnal things the Lord passes to spiritual. Holy Scripture speaks of the people of Israel as of a vine brought up out of Egypt; [marg. note: Ps 80:8, Jer 2:21] of this vine it is then that the Lord says He will drink no more except in His Father’s kingdom. His Father’s kingdom I suppose to mean the faith of the believers. When then the Jews shall receive His Father’s kingdom, then the Lord will drink of their vine. Observe that He says, “Of my Father,” not, Of God, for to name the Father is to name the Son. As much as to say, When they shall have believed on God the Father, and He has brought them to the Son.

Remig.: Or otherwise; “I will not drink of the fruit of this vine,” i.e. I will no longer take pleasure in the carnal oblations of the Synagogue, among which the immolation of the Paschal lamb held an eminent place. But the time of My resurrection is at hand, and the day in which exalted in the Father’s kingdom, that is, raised in immortal glory, “I shall drink it new with you,” i.e. I shall rejoice as with a new joy in the salvation of that people then renewed by the water of baptism.

Aug., Quaest. Ev. i, 43: Or otherwise; When He says, “I shall drink it new with you,” He gives us to understand that this is old. Seeing then that He took body of the race of Adam, who is called the old man, and was to give up to death that Body in His Passion, (whence also He gave us His Blood in the sacrament of wine,) what else can we understand by the new wine than the immortality of renewed bodies?

In saying, “I will drink it with you,” He promises to them likewise a resurrection of their bodies for the putting on of immortality. “With you” is not to be understood of time, but of a like renewal, as the Apostle speaks, that “we are risen with Christ,” the hope of the future bringing a present joy. That which He shall drink new shall also be “of this fruit of the vine,” signifies that the very same bodies shall rise after the heavenly renewal, which shall now die after the earthly decay.

Hilary: It seems from this that Judas had not drunk with Him, because He was not to drink hereafter in the kingdom; but He promises to all who partook at this time of this fruit of the vine that they should drink with Him hereafter.

Gloss., non occ.: But in support of the opinion of other saints, that Judas did receive the sacraments from Christ, it is to be said, that the words “with you” may refer to the greater part of them, and not necessarily to the whole.

Ver  30. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.31. Then saith Jesus unto them, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.32. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”33. Peter answered and said unto him, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”34. Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.”35. Peter said unto him, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” Likewise also said all the disciples.

Origen: When the disciples had eaten the bread of blessing, and drunk of the cup of thanksgiving, the Lord instructs them in return for these things to sing a hymn to the Father. And they go to the Mount of Olives, that they may pass from height to height, because the believer can do nought in the valley.

[ed. note: The passages (Bede and Rabanus, below, and more further on) between the brackets are not found in the earlier Editions of the Catena, in the ED. PR. nor the Bodl. MS. They appear to have been inserted by Nicolai.]

[Bede, in Luc., 22, 39: Beautifully after the disciples have been filled with the Sacraments of His Body and Blood, and commended to the Father in a hymn of pious intercession, does He lead them into the mount of Olives; thus by type teaching us how we ought, by the working of His Sacraments, and the aid of His intercession, mount up to the higher gifts of the virtues and the graces of the Holy Spirit, with which we are anointed in our hearts.

Raban.: This hymn may be that thanksgiving which in John, Our Lord offers up to the Father, when He lifted up His eyes and prayed for His disciples, and those who should believe through their word. This is that of which the Psalm speaks, “The poor shall eat and be filled, they shall praise the Lord.” Ps 22:26]

Chrys.: Let them hear this, who like swine with no thought but of eating rise from the table drunk, when they should have given thanks, and closed with a hymn. Let them hear who will not tarry for the final prayer in the sacred mysteries; for the last prayer of the mysteries represents that hymn. He gave thanks before He delivered the holy mysteries to the disciples, that we also might give thanks; He sung a hymn after He had delivered them, that we also should do the like.

Jerome: After this example of the Saviour, whosoever is filled and is drunken upon the bread and cup of Christ, may praise God and ascend the Mount of Olives, where is refreshment after toil, solace of grief, and knowledge of the true light.

Hilary: Hereby He shews that men confirmed by the powers of the Divine mysteries, are exalted to heavenly glory in a common joy and gladness.

Origen: Suitably also was the mount of mercy chosen whence to declare the offence of His disciples’ weakness, by One even then prepared not to reject the disciples who forsook Him, but to receive them when they returned to Him.

Jerome:  He foretels what they should suffer, that they might not after it had befallen them despair of salvation; but doing penitence might be set free.

Chrys.: In this we see what the disciples were both before and after the cross. They who could not stand with Christ whilst He was crucified, became after the death of Christ harder than adamant. This flight and fear of the disciples is a demonstration of Christ’s death against those who are infected with the heresy of Marcion. If He had been neither bound nor crucified, whence arose the terror of Peter and the rest?

Jerome: And He adds emphatically, “this night,” because as “they that are drunken are drunken by night,” [1 Thess. 5:7] so they that are scandalized are scandalized by night, and in the dark.

Hilary: The credit of this prediction is supported by the authority of old prophecy; “It is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”

Jerome: This is found in Zacharias in words different; it is said to God in the person of the Prophet, “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered abroad.” [Zech 13:7] The good Shepherd is smitten, that He may lay down His life for His sheep, and that of many flocks of divers errors should be made one flock, and one Shepherd.

Chrys.: He produces this prophecy to teach them to attend to the things that are written, and to shew that His crucifixion was according to the counsel of God, and (as He does throughout) that He was not a stranger to the Old Testament, but that it prophesied of Him.

But He did not suffer them to continue in sorrow, but announces glad tidings, saying, “When I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” After His resurrection He does not appear to them immediately from heaven, nor depart into any far country, but in the very same nation in which He was crucified, almost in the very place, giving them thereby assurance, that He who was crucified was the same as He who rose again, thereby to cheer their cast-down countenances. He fixes upon Galilee, that, being delivered from fear of the Jews, they might believe what He spoke to them.

Origen: Also He foretels this to them, that they who now were somewhat dispersed in consequence of the offence, should be after gathered together by Christ rising again, and going before them into Galilee of the Gentiles.

Hilary: But Peter was carried so far by his zeal and affection for Christ, that he regarded neither the weakness of his flesh nor the truth of the Lord’s words; as if what He spake must not come to pass, “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”

Chrys.: What sayest thou, Peter? The Prophet says, “The sheep shall be scattered abroad,” and Christ has confirmed it, yet thou sayest, Never. When He said, “One of you shall betray me,” thou fearedst for thyself, although thou wert not conscious of such a thought; now when He openly affirms, “All ye shall be offended,” you deny it. But because when he was relieved of the anxiety he had concerning the betrayal, he grew confident concerning the rest, he therefore says thus, “I will never be offended.”Jerome: It is not wilfulness, not falsehood, but the Apostle’s faith, and ardent attachment towards the Lord his Saviour.

Remig.: What the One affirms by His power of foreknowledge, the other denies through love; whence we may take a practical lesson, that in proportion as we are confident of the warmth of our faith, we should be in fear of the weakness of our flesh. Peter seems culpable, first, because he contradicted the Lord’s words; secondly, because he set himself before the rest; and thirdly, because he attributed every thing to himself as though he had power to persevere strenuously. His fall then was permitted to heal this in him; not that be was driven to deny, but left to himself, and so convinced of the frailty of his human nature. [ed. note: Remigius has borrowed this from S. Chrysostom, in loc.]

Origen: Whence the other disciples were offended in Jesus, but Peter was not only offended, but what is much more, was suffered to deny Him thrice.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: Perplexity may be occasioned to some by the great difference, not in words only, but in substance, of the speeches in which Peter is forewarned by Our Lord, and which occasion his presumptuous declaration of dying with or for the Lord. Some would oblige us to understand that he thrice expressed his confidence, and the Lord thrice answered him that he would deny Him thrice before cock-crowing; as after His resurrection He thrice asked him if he loved Him, and as often gave him command to feed His sheep.

For what in language or matter has Matthew like the expressions of Peter in either Luke or John? Mark indeed relates it in nearly the same words as Matthew, only marking more precisely in the Lord’s words the manner in which it should fall in, “Verily, I say unto thee, that this day, in the night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” [Mark 14:30]

Whence some inattentive persons think that there is a discrepancy between Mark and the rest. For the sum of Peter’s denials is three; if the first then had been after the first cock-crowing, the other three Evangelists must be wrong when they make the Lord say that Peter should deny Him before the cock crow. But, on the other hand, if be had made all three denials before the cock began to crow, it would be superfluous in Mark to say, “Before the cock crow twice.” Forasmuch as this threefold denial was begun before the first cock-crow, the three Evangelists have marked, not when it was to be concluded, but how often it was to happen, and when to begin, that is, before cock-crow.

Though indeed if we understand it of Peter’s heart we may well say, that the whole denial was complete before the first cock-crow, seeing that before that his mind was seized with that great fear which wrought upon him to the third denial. Much less therefore ought it to disquiet us, how the three-fold denial in three distinct speeches was begun, but not finished before cock-crow. Just as though one should say, Before cock-crow you will write me a letter, in which you will revile me three times; if the letter were begun before any cock-crow, but not finished till after the first, we should not therefore say that the prediction was false.

Origen: But you will ask, whether it were possible that Peter should not have been offended, when once the Saviour had said, “All ye shalt be offended in me.” To which one will answer, what is foretold by Jesus must of necessity come to pass; and another will say, that He who at the prayer of Ninevites turned away the wrath He had denounced by Jonas, might also have averted Peter’s offence at his entreaty. But his presumptuous confidence, prompted by zeal indeed but not a cautious zeal, became the cause not only of offence but of a thrice repeated denial. And since He confirmed it with the sanction of an oath, some one will say that it was not possible that he should not have denied Him. For Christ would have  spoken falsely when he, said, “Verily I say unto thee,” if Peter’s assertion, “I will not deny thee,” had been true.

It seems to me that the other disciples having in view not that which was first said, “All ye shall be offended,” but that which was said to Peter, “Verily I say unto thee, &c.” made a like promise with Peter because they were not comprehended in the prophecy of denial. “Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.”

Here again Peter knows not what he says; he could not die with Him who was to die for all mankind, who were all in sin, and had need of some one to die for them, not that they should die for others.

Raban.: Peter understood the Lord to have foretold that he should deny Him under terror of death, and therefore he declares that though death were imminent, nothing could shake him from his faith; and the other Apostles in like manner in the warmth of their zeal, valued not the infliction of death, but human presumption is vain without Divine aid.

Chrys.: [I suppose also that Peter fell into these words through ambition and boastfulness. And they had disputed at supper which of them should be greatest, whence we see that the love of empty glory disturbed them much. And so to deliver him from such passions, Christ withdrew His aid from him. Moreover observe how after the resurrection, taught by his fall, he speaks to Christ more humbly, and does not any more resist His words. All this his fall wrought for him; for before he had attributed all to himself, when he ought rather to have said, I will not deny Thee if Thou succour me with Thy aid. But afterwards he shews that every thing is to be ascribed to God, “Why look ye so earnestly upon us, as though by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk?” [Acts 3:12] ]

Hence then we learn the great doctrine, that man’s wish is not enough, unless he enjoys Divine support.

Ver  36. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.37. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.38. Then saith he unto them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”

Remig.: The Evangelist had said a little above, that “when they had sung an hymn they went out to the mount of Olives;” to point out the part of the mount to which they took their way, he now adds, “Then came Jesus with them to a garden called Gethsemane.”

Raban.: Luke says, “To the mount of Olives,” [Luke 22:39] and John, “Went forth over the brook Cedron, where was a garden,” [John 18:1] which is the same as this Gethsemane, and is a place where He prayed at the foot of mount Olivet, where is a garden, and a Church now built. [ed. note: This is probably from Areulfus’ account in Adamnantus de Locis Sanctis, c. 23 (ap. Act. Benedict. iv 502) as he quoted him by name, above, p. 95]

Jerome: Gethsemane is interpreted, ‘The rich valley;’ and there He bade His disciples sit a little while, and wait His return whilst He prayed alone for all.

Origen: For it was not fitting that He should be seized in the place where He had sate and eaten the Passover with His disciples. Also He must first pray, and choose a place pure for prayer.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxiii: He says, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder,” because the disciples adhered inseparably to Christ; but it was His practice to pray apart from them, therein teaching us to study quiet and retirement for our prayers.

Damascenus, de Fid. Orth., iii, 24: But seeing that prayer is the sending up the understanding to God, or the asking of God things fitting, how did the Lord pray? For His understanding needed not to be lifted up to God, having been once united hypostatically to God the Word. Neither could He need to ask of God things fitting, for the One Christ is both God and Man. But giving in Himself a pattern to us, He taught us to ask of God, and to lift up our minds to Him. As He took on Him our passions, that by triumphing over them Himself, He might give us also the victory over them, so now He prays  to open to us the way to that lifting up to God, to fulfil for us all righteousness, to reconcile His Father to us, to pay honour to Him as the First Cause, and to shew that He is not against God.

Raban.: When the Lord prayed in the mountain, He taught us to make supplication for heavenly things; when He prays in the garden, He teaches us to study humility in our prayer. And beautifully, as He draws near His Passion, does He pray in the ‘valley of fatness’ shewing that through the valley of humility, and the richness of charity, He took upon Him death for our sakes.

The practical instruction which we may also learn from this is, that we should not suffer our heart to dry up from the richness of charity.

Remig.: He had accepted the disciples’ faith and the devotedness of their will, but He foresaw that they would be troubled and scattered abroad, and therefore bade them sit still in their places; for to sit belongs to one at ease, but they would be grievously troubled that they should have denied Him.

In what fashion He went forward it describes, “And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and very heavy;” the same to whom He had shewn His glory in the mount.

Hilary: These words, He began to be sorrowful and very heavy, are interpreted by heretics that fear of death assailed the Son of God, being (as they allege) neither begotten from eternity, nor existing in the Father’s infinite substance, but produced out of nothing by Him who created all things; and that hence He was liable to anguish of grief, and fear of death. And He who can fear death can also die; and He who can die, though He shall exist after death, yet is not eternal through Him who begot Him in past time.

Had these faith to receive the Gospels, they would know that the Word was in the beginning God, and from the beginning with God, and that the eternity of Him who begets and Him who is begotten is one and the same. But if the assumption of flesh infected with its natural infirmity the virtue of that incorruptible substance, so that it became subject to pain, and shrinking from death, it would also become thereby liable to corruption, and thus its immortality being changed into fear, that which is in it is capable of at some time ceasing to be. But God ever is without measure of time, and such as He is, He continues to  be eternally. Nothing then in God can die, nor can God have any fear springing out of Himself.

Jerome, Hieron. non. occ: But we say that passible man was so taken by God the Son, that His Deity remained impassible. Indeed the Son of God suffered, not by imputation but actually, all that Scripture testifies, in respect of that part of Him which could suffer, viz. in respect of the substance that He had taken on Him.

Hilary, de Trin., x, 10: I suppose that there are some who offer here no other cause of His fear than His passion and death. I ask those who think thus, whether it stands with reason that He should have feared to die, who banished from the Apostles all fear of death, and exhorted them to the glory of martyrdom?

How can we suppose Him to have felt pain and grief in the sacrament of death, who rewards with life those who die for Him? And what pangs of death could He fear, who came to death of the free choice of His own power? And if His Passion was to do Him honour, how could the fear of His Passion make Him sorrowful?

Hilary, in loc.: Since then we read that the Lord was sorrowful, let us discover the causes of His agony. He had forewarned them all that they would be offended, and Peter that he would thrice deny his Lord; and taking him and James and John, He began to be sorrowful. Therefore He was not sorrowful till He took them, but all His fear began after He had taken them; so that His agony was not for Himself, but for them whom He had taken.

Jerome: The Lord therefore sorrowed not from fear of suffering, for for this cause He had come that He should suffer, and had rebuked Peter for his fearfulness; [marg. note: Matt 14:40] but for the wretched Judas, for the offence of the rest of the Apostles, for the rejection and reprobation of the Jewish nation, and the overthrow of unhappy Jerusalem.

Damas., Fid. Orth., iii, 23: Or otherwise; All things which have not yet been brought into existence by their Maker have a natural desire of existence, and naturally shun non-existence. God the Word then, having been made Man, had this desire, through which He desired food, drink, and sleep, by which life is supported, and naturally used them, and contrariwise shunned the things that are destructive of life. Hence in the season of His Passion which He endured voluntarily, He had the natural fear and sorrow for death. For there is a natural fear wherewith the soul shrinks  from separation from the body, by reason of that close sympathy implanted from the first by the Maker of all things.

Jerome: Our Lord therefore sorrowed to prove the reality of the Man which He had taken upon Him; but that passion might bear no sway in His mind, “He began to be sorrowful” by pro-passion [ed. note: see ch. 5, page 185]; for it is one thing to be sorrowful, and another to be very sorrowful.

Remig.: By this place are overthrown the Manichaeans, who said that He took an unreal body; and those also who said that He had not a real soul, but His Divinity in place of a soul. [marg. note: e.g. Apollinaris]

Aug., Lib. 83 Quaest. Q80: We have the narratives of the Evangelists, by which we know that Christ was both born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was seized by the Jews, scourged, crucified, put to death, and buried in a tomb, all which cannot be supposed to have taken place without a body, and not even the maddest will say that these things are to be understood figuratively, when they are told by men who wrote what they remembered to have happened.

These then are witnesses that He had a body, as those affections which cannot be without mind prove Him to have had a mind, and which we read in the accounts of the same Evangelists, that Jesus wondered, was angry, was sorrowful.

Aug., City of God, book xiv, ch. 9: Since then these things are related in the Evangelists, they are not surely false, but as when He willed He became Man, so likewise when He willed He took into His human soul these passions for the sake of adding assurance to the dispensation. We indeed have these passions by reason of the weakness of our human nature; not so the Lord Jesus, whose weakness was of power.

Damas., Fid. Orth., iii, 20: Wherefore the passions of our nature were in Christ both by nature and beyond nature. By nature, because He left His flesh to suffer the things incidental to it; beyond nature, because these natural emotions did not in Him precede the will. For in Christ nothing befel of compulsion, but all was voluntary; with His will He hungered, with His will He feared, or was sorrowful.

Here His sorrow is declared, “Then saith he unto them, My soul is sorrowful even unto death.”

Ambrose, in Luc. 23, 43: He is sorrowful, yet not Himself, but His soul; not His Wisdom, not His divine Substance, but His soul, for He took upon Him  my soul, and my body.

Jerome: He is sorrowful not because of death, but “unto death,” until He has set the Apostles free by His Passion. Let those who imagine Jesus to have taken an irrational soul, say how it is that He is thus sorrowful, and knows the season of His sorrow, for though the brute animals have sorrow, yet they know neither the causes of it, nor the time for which it must endure.

Origen: Or otherwise; “My soul is sorrowful even unto death;” as much as to say, Sorrow is begun in me, but not to endure for ever, but only till the hour of death; that when I shall die for sin, I shall die also to all sorrow, whose beginnings only are in me. “Tarry ye here, and watch with me;” as much as to say, The rest I bade sit yonder as weak, removing them from this struggle; but you I have brought hither as being stronger, that ye may toil with me in watching and prayer. But abide you here, that every man may stay in his own rank and station; since all grace, however great, has its superior.

Jerome: Or the sleep which He would have them forego is not bodily rest, for which at this critical time there was no room, but mental torpor, the sleep of unbelief.

Ver  39. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”40. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?41. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”43. And he came and found them asleep again for their eyes were heavy.44. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Origen: He took with Him the self-confident Peter, and the others, that they might see Him falling on His face and praying, and might learn not to think great things, but little things of themselves, and not to be hasty in promising, but careful in prayer. And therefore, “He went forward a little,” not to go far from them, but that He might be near them in His prayer.

Also, He who had said above, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart,” now commendably humbling Himself, falls on His face. But He shews His devotion in His prayer, and as beloved and well-pleasing to His Father, He adds, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt,” teaching us that we should pray, not that our own will, but that God’s will, should be done.

And as He began to have fear and sorrow, He prays accordingly that the cup of His Passion may pass from Him, yet not as He wills, but as His Father wills; wills, that is, not according to His Divine and impassible Substance, but according to His human and weak nature. For in taking upon Him the nature of human flesh, He fulfilled all the properties thereof, that it might be seen that He had flesh not in appearance only, but in reality.

The believer indeed must in the first instance be loth to incur pain, seeing it leads to death, and he is a man of flesh; but if it be God’s will, he acquiesces because he is a believer. For as we ought not to be too confident that we may not seem to make a boast of our own strength; so neither ought we to be distrustful, lest we should seem to charge God our helper with weakness.

It is to be observed that Mark and Luke write the same, but John does not introduce this prayer of Jesus’, that this cup may pass from Him, because the first three are rather occupied about Him, according to His human nature, John according to His divine.  Otherwise; Jesus makes this petition, because He sees what the Jews will suffer for requiring His death.

Jerome: Whence He says emphatically, “This cup,” that is, of this people of the Jews, who, if they shall put Me to death, can have no excuse for their ignorance, seeing they have the Law and the Prophets, who speak of Me.

Origen: Then again considering the benefit that would accrue to the whole world from His Passion, He says, “But not as I will, but as thou wilt;” i.e. If it be possible for all these benefits which shall result from My Passion to be procured without it, let it pass from Me, and both the world be saved, and the Jews not be condemned in putting Me to death.

But if the salvation of many cannot be procured without the destruction of a few, saving Thy justice, let it not pass away. Scripture, in many places, speaks of passion as a cup that is drained; and it is drained by him, who in testimony suffers whatever is inflicted upon him. He sheds it, on the contrary, who denies in order to avoid suffering.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: And that none might think that He limited His Father’s power, He said not, “If thou canst do it,” but “If it may be,” or, “If it be possible;” as much as to say, If thou wilt. For whatever God wills can be done, as Luke expresses more plainly; for he says not, “If it be possible,” but “If thou wilt.”

Hilary: Otherwise; He says not, Let this cup pass away from Me, for that would be the speech of one who feared it; but He prays that it may pass not so as that He should be passed over, but that when it has passed from Him, it may go to another. His whole fear then is for those who were to suffer, and therefore He prays for those who were to suffer after Him, saying, “Let this cup pass from me,” i.e. as it is drunk by Me, so let it be drunk by these, without mistrust, without sense of pain, without fear of death. He says, “If it be possible,” because flesh and blood shrink from these things, and it is hard for human bodies not to sink beneath their infliction. That He says, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt,” He would fain indeed that they should not suffer, lest their faith should fail in their sufferings, if indeed we might attain to the glory of our joint inheritance with Him without the hardship of sharing in His Passion.

He says, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt,” because it is the Father’s will that strength to drink of the cup should pass from Him to them, that the Devil might be vanquished not so much by Christ as by His disciples also.

Aug., in Ps. 32, enar. 2: Christ thus as man shews a certain private human will, in which He who is our head figures both His own will and ours when He says, “Let it pass from me.” For this was His human will choosing something as apart for Himself. But because as man He would be righteous and guide Himself by God’s will, He adds, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt;” as much as to say to us, Man, behold thyself in Me, that thou canst will somewhat apart of thyself, and though God’s will is other, this is permitted to human frailty.

Leo, Serm., 58, 5: This speech of the Head is the health of the whole body, this saying is instruction to the faithful, animates the confessor, crowns the martyr. For who could vanquish the hatred of the world, or the whirlwind of temptations, or the terrors of the persecutors, if Christ did not in all and for all say to the Father, “Thy will be done.”

Let all the sons of the Church then utter this prayer, that when the pressure of some mighty temptation lies upon them, they may embrace endurance of the suffering, disregarding its terrors.

Origen: And though Jesus went but a “little forward,” they could not watch one hour in His absence; let us therefore pray that Jesus may never depart even a little from us.

Chrys.: He “finds them sleeping,” both because it was a late hour of the night, and their eyes were heavy with sorrow.

Hilary: When then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping, He rebukes Peter, “Could ye not watch one hour with me?” He addresses Peter rather than the rest, because be had most loudly boasted that he would not be offended.

Chrys.: But as they had all said the same, He charges them all with weakness; they had chosen to die with Christ, and yet could not even watch with Him.

Origen: Finding them thus sleeping, He rouses them with a word to hearken, and commands them to watch; “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation;” that first we should watch, and so watching pray. He watches who does good works, and is careful that He does not run into any dark doctrine, for so the prayer of the watchful is heard.

Jerome: It is impossible that the human mind should not be tempted, therefore He says not “Watch and pray” that ye be not tempted, but “that ye enter not into temptation,” that is, that temptation vanquish you not.

Hilary: And why He thus encouraged them to pray that they might not enter into temptation, He adds, “For the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak;” this He says not of Himself, but addresses them.

Jerome: This is against those rash persons who think that whatever they believe they can perform. The more confident we are of our zeal, the more mistrustful should we be of the frailty of the flesh.

Origen: Here it should be enquired, whether as all men’s flesh is weak, so all men’s spirit is willing, or whether only that of the saints; and whether in unbelievers the spirit is not also dull, as the flesh is weak. In another sense the flesh of those only is weak whose spirit is willing, and who with their willing spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh. These then He would have watch and pray that they should not enter into temptation, for the more spiritual any one may be, the more careful should he be that his goodness should not suffer a great fall.

Remig.: Otherwise; In these words He shews that He took real flesh of the Virgin, and had a real soul, saying that His spirit is willing to suffer, but His flesh weak in fearing the pain of Passion.

Origen: There were, I conclude, two ways in which this cup of Passion might pass from the Lord. If He should drink it, it would pass away from Him, and afterwards from the whole race of mankind also; if He should not drink it, it would perhaps pass from Him, but from men it would not pass. He would fain therefore that it should so pass from Him as that He should not at all taste its bitterness, yet only if it were possible, saving the righteousness of God. If it were not possible, He was rather willing to drink it, that so it might pass from Him, and from the whole race of mankind rather than against His Father’s will shun the drinking thereof.

Chrys.: That He prays for this a second and a third time, comes of the feelings belonging to human frailty, through which also He feared death, thus giving assurance that He was truly made man. For in Scripture when any thing is repeated a second and third time, that is the greatest proof of its truth and reality; as, for example, when Joseph says to Pharaoh, “And for that thou sawedst it twice, it is proof of the thing being established by God.” [Gen 41:32]

Jerome: Or otherwise; He prays a second time that if Nineveh, or the Gentile world, cannot be saved unless the gourd, i.e. the Jews, be withered, His Father’s will may be done, which is not contrary to the Son’s will, who Himself speaks by the Prophet, “I am content to do thy will, 0 God.” [Ps 40:8]

Hilary: Otherwise, He bare in His own body all the infirmities of us His disciples who should suffer, and nailed to His cross all wherein we are distressed; and therefore that cup cannot pass from Him, unless He drink it, because we cannot suffer, except by His passion.

Jerome: Christ singly prays for all,as He singly suffers for all. “Their eyes were heavy,” i.e. an oppression and stupefaction came on as their denial drew near.

Origen: And I suppose that the eyes of their body were not so much affected as the eyes of their mind, because the Spirit was not yet given them. Wherefore He does not rebuke them, but goes again and prays, teaching us that we should not faint but should persevere in prayer, until we obtain what we have begun to ask.

Jerome: He prayed the third time, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word might be established.

Raban: Or, The Lord prayed thrice, to teach us to pray for pardon of sins past, defence against present evil, and provision against future perils, and that we should address every prayer to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that our spirit, soul, and body should be kept in safety.

Aug., Quaest Ev., i, 47: Nor is that an absurd interpretation which makes Our Lord pray thrice because of the threefold temptation of His Passion. To the temptation of curiosity is opposed the fear of death; for as the one is a yearning for the knowledge of things, so the other is the fear of losing such knowledge. To the desire of honour or applause is opposed the dread of disgrace and insult. To the desire of pleasure is opposed the fear of pain.

Remig.: Or, He prays thrice for the Apostles, and for Peter in particular, who was to deny Him thrice.

Ver  45. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.46. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

Hilary: After His persevering prayer, after His departures and several returns, He takes away their fear, restores their confidence, and exhorts them to “sleep on, and take their rest.”

Chrys.: Indeed it behoved them to watch, but He said this to shew that the prospect of coming evils was more than they would bear, that He had no need of their aid, and that it must needs be that He should be delivered up.

Hilary: Or, He bids them “sleep on, and take their rest,” because He now confidently awaited His Father’s will concerning the disciples, concerning which He had said, “Thy will be done,” and in obedience to which He drunk the cup that was to pass from Him to us, diverting upon Himself the weakness of our body, the terrors of dismay, and even the pains of death itself.

Origen: Or, the sleep He now bids His disciples take is of a different sort from that which is related above to have befallen them. Then He found them sleeping, not taking repose, but because their eyes were heavy, but now they are not merely to sleep, but to “take their rest,” that this order may be rightly observed, namely, that we first watch with prayer that we enter not into temptation, and afterwards sleep and take our rest, when having “found a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob,” we may “go up into our bed, and give sleep to our eyes.” [Ps 132:3]

It may be also that the soul, unable to sustain a continual energy by reason of its union with the flesh, may blamelessly admit some relaxations, which may be the moral interpretation of slumbers, and then again after due time be quickened to new energy.

Hilary: And whereas, when He returned and found them sleeping, He rebukes them the first time, the second time says nothing, the third time bids them take their rest; the interpretation of this is, that at the first after His resurrection, when He finds them dispersed, distrustful, and timorous, He rebukes them; the second time, when their eyes were heavy to look upon the liberty of the Gospel, He visited them, sending them the Spirit, the Paraclete; for, held back by attachment to the Law, they slumbered in respect of faith; but the third time, when He shall come in His glory, He shall restore them to quietness and confidence.

Origen: When He had roused them from sleep, seeing in the Spirit Judas drawing near to betray Him, though the disciples could not yet see him, He says, “Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

Chrys.: The words, “the hour is at hand,” point out that all that has been done was by Divine interference; and that, “into the hands of sinners,” shew that this was the work of their wickedness, not that He was guilty of any crime.

Origen: And even now Jesus “is betrayed into the hands of sinners,” when those who seem to believe in Jesus, continue to sin while they have Him in their hands. Also whenever a righteous man, who has Jesus in Him, is put into the power of sinners, Jesus is delivered into the hands of sinners.

Jerome: Having concluded His third prayer, and having obtained that the Apostles’ terror should be corrected by subsequent penitence, He goes forth undaunted by the prospect of His own Passion to meet His pursuers, and offers Himself voluntarily to be sacrificed.

“Arise, let us be going;” as much as to say, Let them not find you trembling, let us go forth willingly to death, that they may see us confident and rejoicing in suffering; “Lo, he that shall betray me draweth near.”

Origen: He says not, Draws near to thee, for indeed the traitor was not near Him, but had removed himself far off through his sins.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: This speech as Matthew has it seems self-contradictory. For how could He say, “Sleep on, and take your rest,” and immediately continue, “Rise, let us be going.” This contradiction some have endeavoured to reconcile by supposing the words, “Sleep on, and take your rest,” to be an ironical rebuke, and not a permission; it might be rightly so taken if need were. But as Mark records it, when He had said, “Sleep on, and take your rest,” He added, “it is enough,” and then continued, “The hour is come, behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners;” [Mark 14:41] we clearly understand the Lord to have been silent some time after He had said, “Sleep on,” to allow of their doing so, and then after some interval to have roused them with, “Behold, the hour is at hand.” And as Mark fills up the sense with, “it is enough,” that is, ye have had rest enough.

Ver  47. And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the Chief Priests and elders of the people.48. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.”49. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, “Hail, Master;” and kissed him.50. And Jesus said unto him, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

Gloss., non occ.: Having said above that the Lord offered Himself of His own accord to His pursuers, the Evangelist proceeds to relate how He was seized by them.

Remig.: “One of the twelve,” by association of name, not of desert. This shews the monstrous wickedness of the man who from the dignity of the Apostleship became the traitor. To shew that it was out of envy that they seized Him, it is added, “A great multitude sent by the Chief Priests and elders of the people.”

Origen: Some may say that a great multitude came, because of the great multitude of those who already believed, who, they feared, might rescue Him out of their hands; but I think there is another reason for this, and that is, that they who thought that He cast out daemons through Beelzebub, supposed that by some magic He might escape the hands of those who sought to hold Him. Even now do many fight against Jesus with spiritual weapons, to wit, with divers and shifting dogmas concerning God.

It deserves enquiry why, when He was known by face to all who dwelt in Judaea, he should have given them a sign, as though they were unacquainted with His person. But a tradition to this effect has come down to us, that not only had He two different forms, one under which He appeared to men, the other into which He was transfigured before His disciples in the mount, but also that He appeared to each man in such degree as the beholder was worthy; in like manner as we read of the manna, that it had a flavour adapted to every variety of use, and as the word of God shews not alike to all. They   required therefore a sign by reason of this His transfiguration.

Chrys.: Or, because whenever they had hitherto attempted to seize Him, He had escaped them they knew not how; as also He might then have done had He been so minded.

Raban.: The Lord suffered the traitor’s kiss, not to teach us to dissemble, but that He might not seem to shrink from His betrayal.

Origen: If it be asked why Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, according to some it was because He desired to keep up the reverence due to his Master, and did not dare to make an open assault upon Him; according to others, it was out of fear that if he came as an avowed enemy, be might be the cause of His escape, which he believed Jesus had it in His power to effect.

But I think that all betrayers of truth love to assume the guise of truth, and to use the sign of a kiss. Like Judas also, all heretics call Jesus Rabbi, and receive from Him mild answer.

“And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?” He says, “Friend,” upbraiding his hypocrisy; for in Scripture we never find this term of address used to any of the good, but as above, “Friend, how camest thou in hither?” [Matt 22:12] and, “Friend, I do thee no wrong.” [Matt 20:13]

Aug., non occ.: He says, “Wherefore art thou come?” as much as to say, Thy kiss is a snare for Me; I know wherefore thou art come; thou feignest thyself My friend, being indeed My betrayer.

Remig.: Or, after “Friend, for what thou art come,” that do, is understood. “Then came they, and laid their hands on Jesus, and held him.”

“Then,” that is, when He suffered them, for ofttimes they would have done it, but were not able.

Pseudo-Aug., Serm. de Symb. ad Catech. 6: Exult, Christian, you have gained by this bargain of your enemies; what Judas sold, and what the Jews bought, belongs to you.

Ver  51. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the High Priest’s, and smote off his ear.52. Then said Jesus unto him, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.53. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?54. But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”

Chrys., Hom. lxxxiv: So Luke relates, the Lord had said to His disciples at supper, “He that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one;” [Luke 22:36] and the disciples answered, “Lo, here are two swords.”

It was natural that there should be swords there for the paschal lamb which they had been eating. Hearing then that the pursuers were coming to apprehend Christ, when they went out from supper they took these swords, as though to fight in defence of their Master against His pursuers.

Jerome: In another Gospel [marg. note: John 18:19], Peter is represented as having done this, and with his usual hastiness; and that the servant’s name was Malchus, and that the ear was the right ear. In passing we may say, that Malchus, i.e. one who should have been king of the Jews, was made the slave of the ungodliness and the greediness of the Priests, and lost his right ear so that he might hear only the worthlessness of the letter in his left.

Origen: For though they seem even now to hear the Law, yet is it only with the left ear that they hear the shadow of a tradition concerning the Law, and not the truth. The people of the Gentiles is signified by Peter; for by believing in Christ, they become the cause of cutting off the Jews’ right ear.

Raban.: Or, Peter does not take away the sense of understanding from them that hear, but opens to the careless that which by a divine sentence was taken away from them; but this same right ear is restored to its original function in those who out of this nation believed.

Hilary: Otherwise; The ear of the High Priest’s servant is cut off by the Apostle, that is, Christ’s disciple cuts off the disobedient hearing of a people which were the slaves of the Priesthood, the ear which had refused to hear is cut off so that it is no longer capable of hearing.

Leo, Serm. 22: The Lord of the zealous Apostle will not suffer his pious feeling to proceed further, “Then saith Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place.” For it was contrary to the sacrament of our redemption that He, who had come to die for all, should refuse to be apprehended. He gives therefore licence to their fury against Him, lest by putting off the triumph of His glorious Cross, the dominion of the Devil should be made longer, and the captivity of men more enduring.

Raban.: It behoved also that the Author of grace should teach the faithful patience by His own example, and should rather train them to endure adversity with fortitude, than incite them to self-defence.

Chrys.: To move the disciple to this, He adds a threat, saying, “All they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword.”

Aug., cont. Faust., xxii, 70: That is, every one who uses the sword. And he uses the sword, who, without the command or sanction of any superior, or legitimate authority, arms himself against man’s life. For truly the Lord had given commandment to His disciples to take the sword, but not to smite with the sword. Was it then at all unbeseeming that Peter after this sin should become ruler of the Church, as Moses after smiting the Egyptian was made ruler and chief of the Synagogue? For both transgressed the rule not through hardened ferocity, but through a warmth of spirit capable of good; both through hatred of the injustice of others; both sinned through love, the one for his brother, the other for his Lord, though a carnal love.

Hilary: But all who use the sword do not perish by the sword; of those who have used the sword either judicially, or in self-defence against robbers, fever or accident carries off the greater part. Though if according to this every one who uses the sword shall perish by the sword, justly was the sword now drawn against those who were using the same for the promotion of crime.

Jerome: With what sword then shall he perish, that takes the sword? By that fiery sword which waves before the gate of paradise, and that sword of the Spirit which is described in the armour of God.

Hilary: The Lord then bids him return his sword into its sheath, because He would destroy them by no weapon of man, but by the sword of His mouth.

Remig.: Otherwise; Every one who uses the sword to put man to death perishes first by the sword of his own wickedness.

Chrys.: He not only soothed His disciples, by this declaration of punishment against His enemies, but convinced them that it was voluntarily that He suffered, “Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my Father, &c.” Because He had shewn many qualities of human infirmity, He would have seemed to say what was incredible, if He had said that He had power to destroy them, therefore He says, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father?”

Jerome: That is to say, I need not the aid of the Apostles, though all the twelve should fight for me, seeing I could have twelve legions of the Angelic army. The complement of a legion among the ancients was six thousand men; twelve legions then are seventy-two thousand Angels, being as many as the divisions of the human race and language.

[ed. note: It was generally supposed that in the dispersion at Babel, mankind was divided into seventy-two nations, each speaking a different language. For that is the number of the heads of families enumerated in the genealogy, in Gen. xi. See Aug. de Civ. Dei, xvi. 6.]

Origen: This shews that the armies of heaven have divisions into legions like earthly armies, in the warfare of the Angels against the legions of the daemons. This He said not as though He needed the aid of the Angels, but speaking in accordance with the supposition of Peter, who sought to give Him assistance. Truly the Angels have more need of the help of the Only-begotten Son of God, than He of theirs.

Remig.: We might also understand by the Angels the Roman armies, for with Titus and Vespasian all languages had risen against Judaea, and that was fulfilled, “The whole world shall fight for him against those foolish men.” [Wisdom 5:21]

Chrys.: And He quiets their fears not thus only, but by reference to Scripture, “How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?”

Jerome: This speech shews a mind willing to suffer; vainly would the Prophets have prophesied truly, unless the Lord asserts their truth by His suffering.

Ver  55. In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, “Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.56. But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.57. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the High Priest, where the Scribes and the elders were assembled.58. But Peter followed him afar off unto the High Priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

Origen: Having commanded Peter to put up his sword, which was an instance of patience, and having (as another Evangelist writes [marg. note: Luke 22:51]) healed the ear that was cut off, which waS an instance of the greatest mercy, and of Divine power, it now follows, “In that hour said Jesus to the multitudes, (to the end that if they could not remember His past goodness, they might at least confess His present,) Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me?”

Remig.: As much as to say, Robbers assault and study concealment; I have injured no one, but have healed many, and have ever taught in your synagogues.

Jerome: It is folly then to seek with swords and staves Him who offers Himself to your hands, and with a traitor to hunt out, as though lurking under cover of night, one who is daily teaching in the temple.

Chrys.: They did not lay hands on Him in the temple because they feared the multitude, therefore also the Lord went forth that He might give them place and opportunity to take Him. This then teaches them, that if He had not suffered them of His own free choice, they would never have had strength to take Him. Then the Evangelist assigns the reason why the Lord was willing to be taken, adding, “All this was done that the Scriptures of the Prophets might be fulfilled.”

Jerome: “They pierced my hands and my feet;” [Ps 22:16] and in another place, “He is led as a sheep to the slaughter;” and, “By the iniquities of my people was He led to death.” [Isa 53:7-8]

Remig.: For because all the Prophets had foretold Christ’s Passion, he does not cite any particular place, but says generally that the prophecies of all the Prophets were being fulfilled.

Chrys.: The disciples who had remained when the Lord was apprehended, fled when He spoke these things to the multitudes, “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled;” for they then understood that He could not escape but rather gave Himself up voluntarily.

Remig.: In this act is shewn the Apostles’ frailty; in the first ardour of their faith they had promised to die with Him, but in their fear they forgot their promise and fled. The same we may see in those who undertake to do great things for the love of God, but fail to fulfil what they undertake; they ought not to despair, but to rise again with the Apostles, and recover themselves by penitence.

Raban.: Mystically, As Peter, who by tears washed away the sin of his denial, figures the recovery of those who lapse in time of martyrdom; so the flight of the other disciples suggests the precaution of flight to such as feel themselves unfit to endure torments.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 6: “They that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the High Priest.” But He was first taken to Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas, as John relates. And He was taken bound, there being with that multitude a tribune and cohort, as John also records. [John 18:12]

Jerome: But Josephus writes [ed. note: “Josephus (Ant. xviii. 3 and 4,) twice mentions this Caiaphas as the successor of Simon the son of Camithes, but we do not find that he purchased the High Priesthood of Herod.” Vallarsi.], that this Caiaphas had purchased the priesthood of a single year, notwithstanding that Moses, at God’s command, had directed that High Priests should succeed hereditarily, and that in the Priests likewise succession by birth should be followed up. No wonder then that an unrighteous High Priest should judge unrighteously.

Raban.: And the action suits his name; Caiaphas, i.e. ‘contriving,’ or, ‘politic,’ to execute his villainy; or ‘vomiting from his mouth,’ because of his audacity in uttering a lie, and bringing about the murder. They took Jesus thither, that they might do all advisedly; as it follows, “Where the Scribes and the Elders were assembled.”

Origen: Where Caiaphas the High Priest is, there are assembled the Scribes, that is, the men of the letter [marg. note: literati], who preside over the letter that killeth; and Elders, not in truth, but in the obsolete ancientness of the letter.

It follows, “Peter followed Him afar off,” He would neither keep close to Him, nor altogether leave Him, but “followed afar off.”

Chrys.: Great was the zeal of Peter, who fled not when He saw the others fly, but remained, and entered in. For though John also went in, yet he was known to the Chief Priest. He “followed afar off,” because he was about to deny his Lord.

Remig.: For had he kept close to his Lord’s side, he could never have denied Him. This also shews that Peter should follow his Lord’s Passion, that is, imitate it.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 46: And also that the Church should follow, i.e. imitate, the Lord’s Passion, but with great difference. For the Church suffers for itself, but Christ for the Church.

Jerome: He went in, either out of the attachment of a disciple, or natural curiosity, seeking to know what sentence the High Priest would pass, whether death, or scourging.

Ver  59. Now the Chief Priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;60. But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,61. And said, “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.”62. And the High Priest arose, and said unto him, “Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?”63. But Jesus held his peace. And the High Priest answered and said unto him, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.”64. Jesus saith unto him, “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”65. Then the High Priest rent his clothes, saying, “He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.66. What think ye?” They answered and said, He is guilty of death.67. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,68. Saying, “Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”

Chrys.: When the Chief Priests were thus assembled, this conventicle of ruffians sought to give their conspiracy the character of a legal trial. But it was entirely a scene of confusion and uproar, as what follows shews, “Though many false witnesses came, yet found they none.”

Origen: False witnesses have place when there is any good colour for their testimony. But no pretext was found which could further their falsehoods against Jesus; notwithstanding there were many desirous to do a favour to the Chief Priests. This then is a great testimony in favour of Jesus, that He had lived and taught so irreproachably, that though they were many, and crafty, and wicked, they could find no semblance of fault in Him.

Jerome: “At last came two false witnesses.” How are they false witnesses, when they repeat only what we read that the Lord spoke? A false witness is one who takes what is said in a different sense from that in which it was said. Now this the Lord had spoken of the temple of His Body, and they cavil at His expressions, and by a slight change and addition produce a plausible charge. The Lord’s words were, “Destroy this temple;” [John 2:19] this they make into, I can destroy the Temple of God. He said, “Destroy,” not, I will destroy, because it is unlawful to lay hands on ourselves.

Also they phrased it, “And build it again,” making it apply to the temple of the Jews; but the Lord had said, “And I will raise it up again,” thus clearly pointing out a living and breathing temple. For to build again, and to raise again, are two different things.

Chrys.: Why did they not bring forward now His breaking the Sabbath? Because He had so often confuted them on this point.

Jerome: Headlong and uncontrolled rage, unable to find even a false accusation, moves the High Priest from his throne, the motion of his body shewing the emotion of his mind.

“And the High Priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing to the things which these witness against Thee?”

Chrys.: He said this with a design to draw from Him some indefensible answer which might be made a snare for Him. But “Jesus held his peace,” for defence had availed nothing when none would listen to it. For here was only a mockery of justice, it was in truth nothing more than the anarchy of a den of robbers.

Origen: This place teaches us to contemn the clamours of slanderers and false witnesses, and not to consider those who speak unbeseeming things of us worthy of an answer; but then, above all, when it is greater to be manfully and resolutely silent, than to plead our cause in vain.

Jerome: For as God, He knew that whatever He said would be twisted into an accusation against Him. But at this His silence before false witnesses and ungodly Priests, the High Priest was exasperated, and summons Him to answer, that from any thing He says he may raise a charge against Him.

Origen: Under the Law, we do indeed find many instances of this adjuration; but I judge that a man who would live according to the Gospel should not adjure another; for if we are not permitted to swear, surely not to adjure. [marg. note: Numb 5:19, 1 Ki 22:16]

But he that regards Jesus commanding the daemons, and giving His disciples power over them, will say, that to address the daemons by the power given by the Saviour, is not to adjure them. But the High Priest did sin in laying a snare for Jesus; imitating his father, who twice asked the Saviour, “If thou be Christ the Son of God.” Hence one might rightly say, that to doubt concerning the Son of God, whether Christ be He, is the work of the Devil. It was not fit that the Lord should answer the High Priest’s adjuration as though under compulsion, wherefore He neither denied nor confessed Himself to be the Son of God. For he was not worthy to be the object of Christ’s teaching, therefore He does not instruct him, but taking up his own words retorts them upon him. This sitting of the Son of Man seems to me to denote a certain regal security; by the power of God, Who is the only power, is He securely seated to Whom is given by His Father all power in heaven as in earth.

And there will come a time when the enemies shall see this establishment. Indeed this has begun to be fulfilled from the earliest time of the dispensation; for the disciples saw Him rising from the dead, and thereby saw Him seated on the right band of power.

Or, In respect of that eternity of duration which is with God, from the beginning of the world to the end of it is but one day; it is therefore no wonder that the Saviour here says, “Shortly,” signifying that there is but short time before the end come. He prophesies moreover, that they should not only see Him “sitting at the right hand of power,” but also “coming in the clouds of heaven.” These clouds are the Prophets and Apostles, whom He commands to rain when it is required, they are the clouds that pass not away, but “bearing the image of the heavenly,” [1 Cor 15:49] are worthy to be the throne of God, as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” [Rom 8:17]

Jerome: The same fury which drew the High Priest from his seat, impels him now to rend his clothes; for so it was customary with the Jews to do whenever they heard any blasphemy, or any thing against God.

Chrys.: This He did to give weight to the accusation, and to confirm by deeds what He taught in words.

Jerome: And by this rending his garments, he shews that the Jews have lost the priestly glory, and that their High Priest’s throne was vacant. For by rending his garment he rent the veil of the Law which covered him.

Chrys.: Then, after rending his garment, he did not give sentence of himself, but asked of others, saying, “What think ye?” As was always done in undeniable cases of sin, and manifest blasphemy, and as by force driving them to a certain opinion, he anticipates the answer, “What need we any further witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.”

What was this blasphemy? For before He had interpreted to them as they were gathered together that text, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,” [Matt 22:44] and they had held their peace, and had not contradicted Him. How then do they call what He now says blasphemy? “They answered and said, He is guilty of death,” the same persons at once accusers, examiners, and sentencers.

Origen: How great their error! to pronounce the principle of all men’s life to be guilty of death, and not to acknowledge by  the testimony of the resurrection of so many, the Fount of life, from Whom life flows to all that rise again.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxv: As hunters who have started their game, so they exhibit a wild and drunken exultation.

Jerome: “They spit in his face, and buffeted him,” to fulfil the prophecy of Esaias, “I gave my cheek to the smiters, and turned not away my face from shame and spitting.” [Isa 50:6]

Gloss., ord.: “Prophesy unto us” is said in ridicule of His claim to be held as a Prophet by the people.

Jerome: But it would have been foolish to have answered them that smote Him, and to have declared the smiter, seeing that in their madness they seem to have struck Him openly.

Chrys.: Observe how circumstantially the Evangelist recounts all those particulars even which seem most disgraceful, hiding or extenuating nothing, but thinking it the highest glory that the Lord of the earth should endure such things for us. This let us read continually, let us imprint in our minds, and in these things let us boast.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 44: That, “they did spit in his face,” signifies those who reject His proffered grace. They likewise buffet Him who prefer their own honour to Him; and they smite Him on the face, who, blinded with unbelief, affirm that He is not yet come, disowning and rejecting His person.

Ver  69. Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, “Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.”70. But he denied before them all, saying, “I know not what thou sayest.”71. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, “This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.”72. And again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the man.”73. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, “Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.”74. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying,  “I know not the Man.” And immediately the cock crew.75. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 6: Among the other insults offered to our Lord was the threefold denial of Peter, which the several Evangelists relate in different order. Luke puts Peter’s trial first, and the ill-usage of the Lord after that; Matthew and Mark reverse the order.

Jerome: “Peter sat without,” that he might see the event, and not excite suspicion by any approach to Jesus.

Chrys.: And he, who, when he saw his Master laid hands on, drew his sword and cut off the ear, now when he sees Him enduring such insults becomes a denier, and cannot withstand the taunts of a mean servant girl.

“A damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.”

Raban.: What means this, that a handmaid is the first to tax him, when men would be more likely to recognise him, except that this sex might seem to sin somewhat in the Lord’s death, that they might be redeemed by His passion? “He denied before them all,” because he was afraid to reveal himself; that he said, “I know not,” shews that he was not yet willing to die for the Saviour.

Leo, Serm. 60, 4: For this reason it should seem he was permitted to waver, that the remedy of penitence might be exhibited in the head of the Church, and that none should dare to trust in his own strength, when even the blessed Peter could not escape the danger of frailty.

Chrys.: But not once, but twice and thrice did he deny within a short time.

Aug.: We understand that having gone out after his first denial, the cock crowed the first time as Mark relates.

Chrys.: To shew that the sound did not keep him from denial, nor bring his promise to mind.

Aug.: The second denial was not outside the door, but after he had returned to the fire; for the second maid did not see him after he had gone out, but as he was going out; his getting up to go out drew her attention, and she said to them that were there, that is, to those that were standing round the fire in the hall, “The fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He who had gone out, having heard this returned, that he might by denial vindicate himself. Or, as is more likely, he did not hear what was said of him as he went out, but it was after he came back that the maid, and the other man whom Luke mentions, said to him, “And thou also art one of them.”

Jerome: “And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.” I know that some out of a feeling of piety towards the Apostle Peter have interpreted this place to signify that Peter denied the Man and not the God, as though he meant, ‘I do not know the Man, because I know the God.’ But the intelligent reader will see that this is trifling, for if he denied not, the Lord spoke falsely when He said, “Thou shalt deny me thrice.”

[ed. note: e.g. S. Ambrose (in Luc.) says, He well denied him as man, for he knew him as God.” And S. Hilary, (in loc.) “Almost without sin did he now deny the man, who had been the first to acknowledge him as Son of God; yet seeing through infirmity of the flesh, he had at least doubted, he therefore wept bitterly when he remembered that he had not been able, even after warning, to avoid the sin of that fearfulness.”]

Ambrose, in Luc., 22, 57: I had rather that Peter deny, than that the Lord be made out false.

Raban.: In this denial of Peter we affirm that Christ is denied not only by him who denies that He is Christ, but who denies himself to be a Christian.

Aug.: Let us now come to the third denial; “And after a while came they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them,” (Luke’s words are, “About the space of one hour after, [Luke 22:59]) for thy speech bewrayeth thee.”

Jerome: Not that Peter was of a different speech or nation, but a Hebrew as his accusers were; but every province and every district has its peculiarities, and he could not disguise his native pronunciation.

Remig.: Observe how baneful are communications with evil men; they even drove Peter to deny the Lord whom be had before confessed to be the Son of God.

Raban.: Observe, that he said the first time, “I know not what thou sayest;” the second time, “He denied with an oath;” the third time, “He began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man.” For to persevere in sinning increases sinfulness, and he who disregards light sins, falls into greater.

Remig.: Spiritually; By Peter’s denial before the cock-crow, are denoted those who before Christ’s resurrection did not believe Him to be God, being perplexed by His death. In his denial after the first cock-crow, are denoted those who are in error concerning both Christ’s natures, His human and divine. By the first handmaid is signified desire; by the second, carnal delight; by them that stood by, the daemons; for by them men are led to a denial of Christ.

Origen: Or, By the first handmaid is understood the Synagogue of the Jews, which oft compelled the faithful to deny; by the second, the congregations of the Gentiles, who even persecuted the Christians; they that stood in the hall signify the ministers of divers heresies, who also compel men to deny the truth of Christ.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 45: Also Peter thrice denied, because heretical error concerning Christ is limited to three kinds; they are in error respecting His divinity, His humanity, or both.

Raban.: After the third denial comes the cock-crow; by which we may understand a Doctor of the Church who with chiding rouses the slumbering, saying, “Awake, ye righteous, and sin not.” [1 Cor 15:14] Thus Holy Scripture uses to denote the merit of divers cases [marg. note: meritum causarum] by fixed periods, as Peter sinned at midnight and repented at cock-crow.

Jerome: In another Gospel we read, that after Peter’s denial and thee cock-crow, the Saviour “looked upon Peter,” [Luke 22,61] and by His look called forth those bitter tears; for it might not be that he on whom the Light of the world had looked should continue in the darkness of denial, wherefore, “he went out, and wept bitterly.” For he could not do penitence sitting in Caiaphas’ hall, but went forth from the assembly of the wicked, that he might wash away in bitter tears the pollution of his timid denial.

Leo, Serm. 60, 4: Blessed tears, O holy Apostle, which had the virtue of holy Baptism in washing off the sin of thy denial. The right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ was with thee to hold thee up before thou wast quite thrown down, and in the midst of thy perilous fall, thou receivedst strength to stand. The Rock quickly returned to its stability, recovering so great fortitude, that he who in Christ’s passion had quailed, should endure his own subsequent suffering with fearlessness and constancy.

Proceed to Post 2.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, Lent, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Notes on the Passion of Matthew, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Resources for Holy Week 2011 (Sunday, April 17-Sunday, April 24)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 20, 2011

Usually, it is my practice when posting notes on the daily Mass readings to schedule them in advance and not make them available for viewing until the day on which the corresponding Mass readings are read. However, for Holy Week I have decided to make all the notes and commentaries available in advance.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my readers a very blessed and holy Passion Week.

SUNDAY, APRIL 17
PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION

Mass Readings.

Resources for Palm Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Last Weeks Posts.

Today’s Divine Office.
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MONDAY, APRIL 18
MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Mass Readings.

St Thomas Aquinas on Today’s Psalm 27 (26). Latin and English side by side.

Pope John Paul II on Today’s Psalm 27 (26).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 12:1-11).

St Augustine on Today’s Gospel.

Today’s Divine Office.
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TUESDAY, APRIL 19
TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Mass Readings.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 13:21-33, 36-38).

St Augustine on Today’s Gospel (John 13:21-33, 36-38).

Today’s Divine Office.

Devotional Readings from Jeremiah. Used for Tuesday of Holy Week in the Old Roman Breviary:

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20
WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK

Mass Readings.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 26:14-25).

Today’s Divine Office.

UPDATE: Resources for Easter Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).
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THURSDAY, APRIL 21
HOLY THURSDAY

Readings for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

Readings for the Chrism Mass.

Father Callan on 1 Cor 11:23-26 for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 13:1-15 for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

St Cyril of Alexandria on John 13:1-15 for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

Bede the Venerable on Revelation 1:5-8 for the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:16-21 for the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass. This was previously published and includes commentary on verse 14, 15, 22.

Cornelius a Lapide on Luke 4:16-21 for the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass.

Today’s Divine Office.

UPDATE: Was There a Passover Lamb at the Last Supper. Blog post by Catholic biblical scholar Brant Pitre.

UPDATE: The Hallel Psalms and the Last Supper. Blog post by Catholic biblical scholar John Bergsma.
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FRIDAY, APRIL 21
GOOD FRIDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION

Mass Readings.

Father Callan on Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9 for Good Friday.

Post 1: St Cyril of Alexandria on John 18:1-23 for Good Friday.

Post 2: St Cyril of Alexandria on John 18:24-40 for Good Friday.

Post 3: St Cyril of Alexandria on John 19:1-24 for Good Friday.

Post 4: St Cyril of Alexandria on John 19:25-42 for Good Friday.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on John 18. Six lectures in all.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on John 19. Also in six lecture.

My Notes on the Passion According to John:

Navarre Bible Commentary:

Word Sunday:

On the Passion of Our Lord. An old sermon originally preached on Palm Sunday but suitable for Good Friday. Use the site’s zoom feature to increas text size.

The Dereliction of Jesus Upon the Cross. Homily. Use site’s zoom feature to increase text size for easy reading.

Today’s Divine Office.

UPDATE: A Scriptural Rosary for Good Friday.

UPDATE: The King and the Cross: Jesus’ Passion, the Psalms & David.

UPDATE: A Look at John’s Passion Narrative. Blog post by Catholic biblical scholar Michael Barber.
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SATURDAY, APRIL 23
EASTER VIGIL

Mass Readings for the Easter Vigil.

Resources for the Easter Vigil.

Today’s Divine Office.
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EASTER SUNDAY

Resources for Easter Sunday for Both Forms of the Rite.

Today’s Divine Office.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 26:14-25

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 16, 2011

Ver  14. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the Chief Priests,15. And said unto them, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Gloss., non. occ.: Having described the occasion of his treachery, the Evangelist proceeds to recount the manner of it.

Chrys.: “Then,” when, that is, he heard that this Gospel should be preached every where; for that made him afraid, as it was indeed a mark of unspeakable power.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: The order of the narrative is this. The Lord says, “Ye know that after two days will be the feast of the Passover; . . . then assembled together the Chief Priests and Scribes; . . . then went one of the twelve.”

Thus the narrative of what took place at Bethany is inserted by way of digression, respecting an earlier time between that, “Lest there be an uproar,” and, “Then one of the twelve.”

Origen: “Went,” against that one high priest, who was made a Priest for ever, to many high priests, to sell for a price Him who sought to redeem the whole world.

Raban.: “Went,” he says, because he was neither compelled, nor invited, but of his own free will formed the wicked design.

Chrys.: “One of the twelve,” as much as to say, of that first band who are elected for preeminent merit.

Gloss, non. occ: He adds his distinctive appellation, “Scarioth,” for there was another Judas.

Remig.: So called from the village Scariotha, from which he came.

Leo, Serm., 60, 4: He did not out of any fear forsake Christ, but through lust of money cast Him off; for in comparison of the love of money all our affections are feeble; the soul athirst for gain fears not to die for a very little; there is no  trace of righteousness in that heart in which covetousness has once taken up its abode. The traitor Judas, intoxicated with this bane, in his thirst for lucre was so foolishly hardened, as to sell his Lord and Master.

Jerome: The wretched Judas would fain replace, by the sale of his Master, that loss which he supposed he had incurred by the ointment. And he does not demand any fixed sum, lest his treachery should seem a gainful thing, but as though delivering up a worthless slave, he left it to those who bought, to determine how much they would give.

Origen: The same do all who take any material or worldly things to cast out of their thoughts the Saviour and the word of truth which was in them. “And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver,” as many pieces as the Saviour had dwelt years in the world.

[ed. note: i.e. Before He began His ministry, as what follows in Origen shews. For though Origen had at one time considered the duration of Our Lord’s ministry not to have exceeded one year and a few months, he had changed that opinion before this commentary on S. Matt. was written. In it he more than once mentions three years as the probable period. vid. Comm. in Matt. Ser., sect 40]

Jerome: Joseph was not sold as many, following the LXX [septuagint], think for twenty pieces of gold, but as the Hebrew text has for twenty pieces of silver, [marg. note: Gen 37:28] for it could not be that the servant should be more valuable than his Master.

Aug., Quaest Ev., i, 41: That the Lord was sold for thirty pieces of silver by Judas, denotes the unrighteous Jews, who pursuing things carnal and temporal, which belong to the five bodily senses, refuse to have Christ; and forasmuch as they did this in the sixth age of the world, their receiving five times six as the price of the Lord is thus signified; and because the Lord’s words are silver, but they understood even the Law carnally, they had, as it were, stamped on silver the image of that worldly dominion which they held to when they renounced the Lord.

Origen: The “opportunity” which Judas sought is further explained by Luke, “how he might betray him in the absence of the multitude;” [Luke 22:6] when the populace was not with Him, but He was withdrawn with His disciples. And this he did, delivering Him up after supper, when He was withdrawn to the garden of Gethsemane. And from that time forward, such has been the season sought for by those that would betray the word of God in time of persecution, when the multitude of believers is not around the word of truth.

Ver  17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?”18. And he said, “Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.”19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.

Gloss., non occ.: The Evangelist having gone through the events preliminary to the Passion, namely, the announcement of the counsel of the Chief Priests, and the covenant for His betrayal, prosecutes the history in the order of events, saying, “On the first day of unleavened bread.”

Jerome: The first day of unleavened bread is the fourteenth day of the first month, when the lamb is killed, the moon is at full, and leaven is put away.

Remig.: And observe that with the Jews, the Passover is celebrated on the first day, and the following seven are called the days of unleavened bread; but here the first day of unleavened bread means the day of the Passover.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxi: Or, by “the first day,” he means the day before the days of unleavened bread. For the Jews always reckoned their day from the evening; and this day of which he speaks was that on the evening of which they were to kill the Passover, namely, the fifth day of the week.

[ed. note: This passage has been altered by the text of S. Chrys. The Catena has, ‘Vel hanc primam diem azymorum dicit quia septem dies azymorum erant.”]

REMIG. But perhaps some one will say, If that typical lamb bore a type of this the true lamb, how did not Christ suffer on the night on which this was always killed? It is to be noted, that on this night, He committed to His disciples the mysteries of His flesh and blood to be celebrated, and then also being seized and bound by the Jews, He hallowed the commencement of His sacrifice, i.e. His Passion. “The disciples came” unto him;” among these no doubt was the traitor Judas.

Chrys.: Hence it is evident that He had neither house nor lodging. Nor, I conclude, had the disciples any, for they would surely have invited Him thither.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 80: “Go into the city to such a man,” Him whom Mark and Luke call “the good-man of the house,” or “the I master of the house.” And when Matthew says, “to such a man,” he is to be understood to say this as from himself for brevity’s sake; for every one knows that no man speaks thus, “Go ye to such a man.” And Matthew adds these words, “to such a man,” not that the Lord used the very expression, but to convey to us that the disciples were not sent to any one in the city, but to some certain person.

Chrys.: Or, we may say that this, “to such a man,” shews that He sent them to some person unknown to them, teaching them thereby that He was able to avoid His Passion. For He who prevailed with this man to entertain Him, how could He not have prevailed with those who crucified Him, had He chosen not to suffer? Indeed, I marvel not only that he entertained Him, being a stranger, but that he did it in contempt of the hatred of the multitude.

Hilary: Or, Matthew does not name the man in whose house Christ would celebrate the Passover, because the Christian name was not yet held in honour by the believers.

Raban.: Or, he omits the name, that all who would fain celebrate the true Passover, and receive Christ within the dwelling place of their own minds, should understand that the opportunity is afforded them.

Jerome: In this also the New Scripture observes the practice of the Old, in which we frequently read, ‘He said unto him,’ and ‘In this or that place,’ without any name of person or place.

Chrys.: “My time is at hand,” this He said, both by so manifold announcements of His Passion, fortifying His disciples against the event, and at the same time shewing that He undertook it voluntarily. “I will keep the Passover at thy house,” wherein we see, that to the very last day He was not disobedient to the Law. “With my disciples,” He adds, that there might be sufficient preparation made, and that he to whom He sent might not think that He desired to be concealed.

Origen: Some one may argue [marg. note: e.g. The Ebionites], that because Jesus kept the Passover with Jewish observances, we ought to do the same as followers of Christ, not remembering that Jesus was “made under the Law,” though not that He should leave “under the Law” [Gal 4:4] those who were under it, but should “lead them out” of it; how much less fitting then is it, that those who before were without the Law, should afterwards enter in? We celebrate spiritually the things which were carnally celebrated in the Law, keeping the Passover “in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” [1 Cor 5:8] according to the will of the Lamb, who said, “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall not have life in you.” [John 6:53]

Ver  20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.21. And as they did eat, he said, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.”22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, “Lord, is it I?”23. And he answered and said, “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.24. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.”25. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, “Master, is it I?” He said unto him, “Thou hast said.”

Jerome: The Lord had above foretold His Passion, He now foretels who is to be the traitor; thus giving him place of repentance, when he should see that his thoughts and the secret designs of his heart were known.Remig.: “With the twelve,” it is said, for Judas was personally among them, though he had ceased to be so in merit.

Jerome: Judas acts in every thing to remove all suspicion of his treachery.

Remig.: And it is beautifully said, “When even was come,” because it was in the evening that the Lamb was wont to be slain.

Raban.: For this reason also, because in Christ’s Passion, wherein the true sun hasted to his setting, eternal refreshment was made ready for all believers.

Chrys.: The Evangelist relates how as they sat at meat, Jesus declares Judas’ treachery, that the wickedness of the betrayer may be more apparent from the season and the circumstances.

Leo, Serm. 58, 3: He shews that the conscience of His betrayer was known to Him, not meeting his wickedness with a harsh and open rebuke, that penitence might find a readier way to one who had not been disgraced by public dismissal.

Origen: Or, He spoke generally, to prove the nature of each of their hearts, and to evince the wickedness of Judas, who would not believe in One who knew his heart. I suppose that at first he supposed that the thing was hid from Him, deeming Him man, which was of unbelief; but when he saw that his heart was known, he embraced the concealment offered by this general way of speaking, which was shamelessness.

This also shews the goodness of the disciples, that they believed Christ’s words more than their own consciences, “for they began each to say, Lord, is it I?” For they knew by what Jesus had taught them that human nature is readily turned to evil, and is in continual struggle with “the rulers of the darkness of this world;” [Eph 6:12] whence they ask as in fear, for by reason of our weakness the future is an object of dread to us.

When the Lord saw the disciples thus alarmed for themselves, He pointed out the traitor by the mark of the prophetic declaration, “He that hath eaten bread with me hath wantonly overthrown me.” [Ps 41:9]

Jerome: O wonderful endurance of the Lord, He had said before, “One of you shall betray me.” The traitor perseveres in his wickedness; He designates him more particularly, yet not by name. For Judas, while the rest were sorrowful, and withdrew their hands, and bid away the food from their months, with the same hardihood and recklessness which led him to betray Him, reached forth his hand into the dish with his Master, passing off his audacity as a good conscience.

Chrys.: I rather think that Christ did this out of regard for him, and to bring him to a better mind.

Raban.: What Matthew calls ‘paropsis,’ Mark calls ‘catinus.’ The ‘paropsis’ is a square dish for meat, ‘catinus,’ an earthen vessel for containing fluids; this then might be a square earthen vessel.

Origen: Such is the wont of men of exceeding wickedness, to plot against those of whose bread and salt they have partaken, and especially those who have no enmity against them. But if we take it of the spiritual table, and the spiritual food, we shall see the more abundant and overflowing measure of this man’s wickedness, who called to mind neither his Master’s love in providing carnal goods, nor His teaching in things spiritual. Such are all in the Church who lay snares for their brethren whom they continually meet at the same table of Christ’s Body.

Jerome: Judas, not withheld by either the first or second warning, perseveres in his treachery; the Lord’s long-suffering nourishes his audacity. Now then his punishment is foretold, that denunciations of wrath may correct where good feeling has no power.

Remig.: It belongs to human nature to come and go, Divine nature remains ever the same. So because His human nature could suffer and die, therefore of the Son of Man it is well said that “he goeth.” He says plainly, “As it is written of him,” for all that He suffered had been foretold by the Prophets.

Chrys.: This He said to comfort His disciples, that they might not think that it was through weakness that He suffered; and at the same time for the correction of His betrayer. And notwithstanding His Passion had been foretold, Judas is still guilty; and not his betrayal wrought our salvation, but God’s providence, which used the sins of others to our profit.

Origen: He said not, By whom “the Son of Man is betrayed,” but “through whom,” [John 13:2] pointing out another, to wit the Devil, as the author of His betrayal, Judas as the minister. But woe also to all betrayers of Christ! and such is every one who betrays a disciple of Christ.

Remig.: Woe also to all who draw near to Christ’s table with an evil and defiled conscience! who though they do not deliver Christ to the Jews to be crucified, deliver Him to their own sinful members to be taken. He adds, to give more emphasis, “Good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

Jerome: We are not to infer from this that man has a being before birth; for it cannot be well with any man till he has a being; it simply implies that it is better not to be, than to be in evil.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 40: And if it be contended that there is a life before this life, that will prove that not only not for Judas, but for none other is it good to have been born. Can it mean, that it were better for him not to have been born to the Devil, namely, for sin? Or does it mean that it had been good for him not to have been born to Christ at his calling, that he should now become apostate?

Origen: After all the Apostles had asked, and after Christ had spoken of him, Judas at length enquired of himself, with the crafty design of concealing his treacherous purpose by asking the same question as the rest; for real sorrow brooks not suspense.

Jerome: His question feigns either great respect, or a hypocritical incredulousness. The rest who were not to betray Him, said only “Lord;” the actual traitor addresses Him as “Master,” as though it were some excuse that he denied Him as Lord, and betrayed a Master only.

Origen: Or, out of sycophancy he calls Him Master, while be holds Him unworthy of the title.

Chrys.: Though the Lord could have said, Hast thou covenanted to receive silver, and darest to ask Me this? But Jesus, most merciful, said nothing of all this, therein laying down for us rules and landmarks of endurance of evil.  “He saith unto him, Thou hast said.”

Remig.: Which may be understood thus; Thou sayest it, and thou sayest what is true; or, Thou hast said this, not I; leaving him room for repentance so long as his villainy was not publicly exposed.

Raban.: This might have been so said by Judas, and answered by the Lord as not to be overheard by the rest.

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Post 2: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on the Palm Sunday Gospel (Matt 27:1-66)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 13, 2011

To see Post 1 on Matt 26:1-75 go here.

Ver  1. When the morning was come, all the Chief Priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:2. And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.3. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the Chief Priests and elders,4. Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, “What is that to us? see thou to that.”5. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 7: The Evangelist had above brought down his history, of what was done to the Lord as far as early morning; he then turned back to relate Peter’s denial, after which he returned to the morning to continue the course of events, “When the morning was come, &c.”

Origen: They supposed that by His death they should crush His doctrine, and the belief in Him of those who believed Him to be the Son of God. With such purpose against Him they bound Jesus, Who looses them that are bound. [marg. note: see Isa_61:1]

Jerome: Observe the evil zeal of the Chief Priests; they watched the whole night with a view to this murder. And they gave Him up to Pilate bound, for such was their practice to send bound to the judge any whom they had sentenced to death.

Raban.: Though it should be observed that they did not now first bind Him, but before, when they first laid hands upon Him in the garden, as John relates. [Joh_18:12]

Chrys., Hom. lxxxiv: They did not put Him to death in secret, because they sought to destroy His reputation, and the wonder with which He was regarded by many. For this reason they were minded to put Him to death openly before all, and therefore they led Him to the governor.

Jerome: Judas, when he saw that the Lord was condemned to death, returned the money to the Priests, as though it had been in his power to change the minds of His persecutors.

Origen: Let the propounders of those fables concerning intrinsically evil natures [ed. note: vid. S. Basil. Reg. Brev. 84.] answer me here, whence Judas came to the acknowledgment of his sin, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed righteous blood,” except through the good mind originally implanted in him, and that seed of virtue which is sown in every rational soul? But Judas did not cherish this, and so fell into this sin.

But if ever any man was made of a nature that was to perish, Judas was yet more of such a nature. If indeed he had done this after Christ’s resurrection, it might have been said, that the power of the resurrection brought him to repentance. But he repented when he saw Christ delivered up to Pilate, perhaps remembering the things Jesus had so often spoken of His resurrection.

Or, perhaps Satan who had “entered into him” [Joh_13:27] continued with him till Jesus was given up to Pilate, and then, having accomplished his purpose, departed from him; whereupon be repented.

But how could Judas know that He was condemned, for He had not yet been examined by Pilate? One may perhaps say, that he foreboded the event in his own mind from the very first, when he saw Him delivered up. Another may explain the words, when “he saw that he was condemned,” of Judas himself, that be then perceived his evil case, and saw that he himself was condemned.

Leo, Serm., 52, 5: When he says, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood,” he persists in his wicked treachery, seeing that amid the last struggles of death he believed not Jesus to be the Son of God, but merely man of our rank; for had he not thus denied His omnipotence, he would have obtained His mercy.

Chrys.: Observe that he repents only when his sin is finished and complete; for so the Devil suffers not those who are not watchful to see the evil before they bring it to an end.

Remig.: “But they said, What is that to us?” that is to say, What is it to us that He is righteous? “See thou to it,” i.e. to thy own deed what will come of it. Though some would read these in one [marg. note: Quid ad nos tu videris?], What must we think of you, when you confess that the man whom yourself have betrayed is innocent?

Origen: But when the Devil leave any one, he watches his time for return, and having taken it, he leads him into a second sin, and then watches for opportunity for a third deceit. So the man who had married his father’s wife afterwards repented him of this sin, [1Co_5:1] but again the Devil resolved so to augment this very sorrow of repentance, that his sorrow being made too abundant might swallow up the sorrower.

Something like this took place in Judas, who after his repentance did not preserve his own heart, but received that more abundant sorrow supplied to him by the Devil, who sought to swallow him up, as it follows, “And he went out, and hanged himself.” But had he desired and looked for place and time for repentance, he would perhaps have found Him who has said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” [Eze_33:11]

Or, perhaps, he desired to die before his Master on His way to death, and to meet Him with a disembodied spirit, that by confession and deprecation he might obtain mercy; and did not see that it is not fitting that a servant of God should dismiss himself from life, but should wait God’s sentence.

Raban.: He “hung himself,” to shew that he was hateful to both heaven and earth.

Pseudo-Aug., Hil. Quaest. V. et N. Test. q. 94: Since the Chief Priests were employed about the murder of the Lord from the morning to the ninth hour, how is this proved that before the crucifixion Judas returned them the money he had received, and said to them in the temple, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood?”

Whereas it is manifest that the Chief Priests and Elders were never in the temple before the Lord’s crucifixion, seeing that when He was hanging on the Cross they were there to insult Him. Nor indeed can this be proved hence, because it is related before the Lord’s Passion, for many things which were manifestly done before, are related after, that, and the reverse. It might have been done after the ninth hour, when Judas, seeing the Saviour dead and the veil of the temple rent, the earthquake, the bursting of the rocks, and the elements terrified, was seized with fear and sorrow thereupon. But after the ninth hour the Chief Priests and Elders were occupied, as I suppose, in the celebration of the Passover; and on the Sabbath, the Law would not have allowed him to bring money. Therefore it is to me as yet unproved on what day or at what time Judas ended his life by hanging.

Ver  6. And the Chief Priests took the silver pieces, and said, “It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.”7. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.8. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;10. And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”

Chrys.: The Chief Priests knowing that they had purchased a murder were condemned by their own conscience; they said, “It is the price of blood.”

Jerome: Truly straining out the gnat, and swallowing the camel; for if they would not put the money into the treasury, because it was the price of blood, why did they shed the blood at all?

Origen: They thought it meet to spend upon the dead that money which was the price of blood. But as there are differences even in burial places, they used the price of Jesus’ blood in the purchase of some potter’s field, where foreigners might be buried, not as they desired in the sepulchres of their fathers.

Aug., App. Serm., 80, 1: It was brought about, I conceive, by God’s providence, that the Saviour’s price should not minister means of excess to sinners, but repose to foreigners, that thence Christ might both redeem the living by the shedding of His blood, and harbour the dead by the price of His passion. Therefore with the price of the Lord’s blood the potter’s field is purchased. We read in Scripture that the salvation of the whole human race has been purchased by the Saviour’s blood. This field then is the whole world. The potter who is the Lord of the soil, is He who has formed of clay the vessels of our bodies. This potter’s field then was purchased by Christ’s blood, and to strangers who without country or home wander over the whole world, repose is provided by Christ’s blood.

These foreigners are the more devout Christians, who have renounced the world, and have no possession in it, and so repose in Christ’s blood; for the burial of Christ is nothing but the repose of a Christian; for as the Apostle says, “We are buried with him by baptism into death.” [Rom_6:4] We are in this life then as foreigners.

Jerome: Also we, who were strangers to the Law and the Prophets, have profited by the perverse temper of the Jews to obtain salvation for ourselves.

Origen: Or, the “foreigners” are they who to the end are aliens from God, for the righteous are buried with Christ in a new tomb hewn out in the rock. But they who are aliens from God, even to the end, are buried in the field of a potter, a worker in clay, which being bought by the price of blood, is called the field of blood.

Gloss, non occ.: “To this day” means to the time when the Evangelist was then writing. He then confirms the event by the testimony of the Prophet; “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the Prophet,” &c.

Jerome: This is not found at all in Hieremias; but in Zacharias [marg. note: Zec_11:13], who is the last but one of the twelve Prophets, something like it is told, and though the sense is not very different, yet the arrangement and the words are different.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 7: But if any one thinks this lowers the historian’s credit, first let him know that not all the copies of the Gospels have the name Hieremias, but some simply “by the Prophet.”

But I do not like this defence, because the more, and the more ancient, copies have Hieremias, and there could be no reason for adding the name, and thus making an error. But its erasure is well accounted for by the hardihood of ignorance having heard the foregoing objection urged. It might be then, that the name Hieremias occurred to the mind of Matthew as he wrote, instead of the name Zacharias, as so often happens; and that be would have straightway corrected it, when pointed out to him by such as read this while he yet lived in the flesh, had he not thought that his memory, being guided by the Holy Spirit, would not thus have called up to him one name instead of another, had not the Lord determined that it should thus be written.

And why He should have so determined, the first reason is, that it would convey the wonderful consent of the Prophets, who all spake by one Spirit, which is much greater than if all the words of all the Prophets had been uttered through the mouth of one man; so that we receive without doubt whatever the Holy Spirit spake through them, each word belongs to all in common, and the whole is the utterance of each. Suppose it to happen at this day, that in repeating another’s words one should mention not the speaker’s name, but that of some other person, who however was the other’s greater friend, and then immediately recollecting himself should correct himself, he might yet add, Yet am I right, if you only think of the close unanimity that exists between the two. How much more is this to be observed of the holy Prophets!

There is a second reason why the name Hieremias should be suffered to remain in this quotation from Zacharias, or rather why it should have been suggested by the Holy Spirit. It is said in Hieremias, that he bought a field of his brother’s son, and gave him silver for it, [Jer_32:9] though not indeed the sum stated in Zacharias, thirty pieces of silver. That the Evangelist has here adapted the thirty pieces of silver in Zacharias to this transaction in the Lord’s history, is plain; but he may also wish to convey that what Hieremias speaks of the field is mystically alluded to here, and therefore he puts not the name of Zacharias who spoke of the thirty pieces of silver, but of Hieremias who spoke of the purchase of the field. So that in reading the Gospel and finding the name of Hieremias, but not finding there the passage respecting the thirty pieces of silver, but the account of the purchase of the field, the reader might be induced to compare the two together, and so extract from them the sense of the prophecy, how far it refers to what was now accomplished in the Lord.

For what Matthew adds to the prophecy, “Whom they of the children of Israel did value, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me,” this, “as the Lord appointed me,” is found neither in Zacharias nor Hieremias. It must then be taken in the person of the Evangelist as inserted with a mystic meaning, that he had learned by revelation that the prophecy referred to this matter of the price for which Christ was betrayed.

Jerome, Hieron. ad Pam. Ep. 57, 5: Far be it then from a follower of Christ to suppose him guilty of falsehood, whereas his business was not to pry into words and syllables, but to lay down the staple of doctrine.

Aug., Hieron. in loc.: I have lately read in a Hebrew book given me by a Hebrew of the Nazarene sect, an apocryphal Hieremias, in which I find the very words here quoted. After all, I am rather inclined to think that the passage was taken by Matthew out of Zacharias, in the usual manner of the Apostles and Evangelists when they quote from the Old Testament, neglecting the words, and attending only to the sense.

Ver  11. And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said unto him, “Thou sayest.”12. And when he was accused of the Chief Priests and elders, he answered nothing.13. Then said Pilate unto him, “Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?14. And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 7: Matthew, having finished his digression concerning the traitor Judas, returns to the course of his narrative saying, “Jesus stood before the governor.”

Origen: Mark how He that is ordained by His Father to be the Judge of the whole creation, humbled Himself, and was content to stand before the judge of the land of Judaea, and to be asked by Pilate either in mockery or doubt, “Art thou the King of the Jews?”

Chrys., Hom. lxxxvi: Pilate asked Christ that which His enemies were continually casting in His teeth, for because they knew that Pilate cared not for matters of their Law, they had recourse to a public charge.

Origen: Or, Pilate spoke this affirmatively, as he afterwards wrote in the inscription, “The King of the Jews.” By answering to the Chief Priest, “Thou hast said,” He indirectly reproved his doubts, but now He turns Pilate’s speech into an affirmative, “Jesus saith unto him, Thou sayest it.”

Chrys.: He acknowledges Himself to be a King, but a heavenly one, as it is more expressly said in another Gospel, “My kingdom is not of this world [Joh_18:36], so that neither the Jews nor Pilate were excusable for insisting on this accusation.

Hilary: Or, when asked by the High Priest whether He were Jesus the Christ, He answered, “Thou hast said,” because He had ever maintained out of the Law that Christ should come, but to Pilate who was ignorant of the Law, and asks if He were the King of the Jews, He answers, “Thou sayest,” because the salvation of the Gentiles is through faith of that present confession.

Jerome: But observe, that to Pilate who asked the question unwillingly He did answer somewhat; but to the Chief Priests and Priests He refused to answer, judging them unworthy of a word; “And when he was accused by the Chief Priests and Elders he answered nothing.”

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 8: Luke explains what were the accusations alleged against Him, “And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.” [Luk_23:2]  But it is of no consequence to the truth in what order they relate the history, or that one omits what another inserts.

Origen: Neither then nor now did Jesus make any reply to their accusations, for the word of God was not sent to them, as it was formerly to the Prophets. Neither was Pilate worthy of an answer, as be had no fixed or abiding opinion of Christ, but veered about to contradictory suppositions.   “Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?”

Jerome: Thus though it is a Gentile who sentences Jesus, he lays the cause of His condemnation upon the Jews.

Chrys.: He said this out of a wish to release Him, if He should justify Himself in His answer. But the Jews, though they had so many practical proofs of His power, His meekness and humbleness, were yet enraged against Him, and urged on by a perverted judgment. Wherefore He answers nothing, or if He makes any answer He says little, that total silence might not be construed into obstinacy.

Jerome: Or, Jesus would not make any answer, lest if He cleared Himself the governor should have let Him go, and the benefit of His cross should have been deferred.

Origen: “The governor marvelled” at His endurance, as knowing that he had power to condemn Him, He yet continued in a peaceful, placid, and immovable prudence and gravity. He marvelled “greatly,” for it seemed to him a great miracle that Christ, produced before a criminal tribunal, stood thus fearless of death, which all men think so terrible.

Ver  15. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.16. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.17. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?”18. For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.19. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”20. But the Chief Priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.21. The governor answered and said unto them, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?” They said, “Barabbas.”22. Pilate saith unto them, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” They all say unto him, “Let him be crucified.”23. And the governor said, “Why, what evil bath he done?” But they cried out the more, saying, “Let him be crucified.”24. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it.”25. Then answered all the people, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.”26. Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Chrys.: Because Christ had answered nothing to the accusations of the Jews, by which Pilate could acquit Him of what was alleged against Him, he contrives other means of saving Him.  “Now on the feast day the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner whom they would.”

Origen: Thus do the Gentiles shew favours to those whom they subject to themselves, until their yoke is riveted. Yet did this practice obtain also among the Jews, Saul did not put Jonathan to death, because all the people sought his life. [marg. note: 1 Sam 14]

Chrys.: And he sought to rescue Christ by means of this practice, that the Jews might not have the shadow of an excuse left them. A convicted murderer is put in comparison with Christ, Barabbas, whom he calls not merely a robber, but a notable one, that is, renowned for crime.

Jerome: In the Gospel entitled ‘according to the Hebrews,’ Barabbas is interpreted, ‘The son of their master,’ who had been condemned for sedition and murder. Pilate gives them the choice between Jesus and the robber, not doubting but that Jesus would be the rather chosen.

Chrys.: “Whom will ye that I release unto you?” &c. As much as to say, If ye will not let Him go as innocent, at least, yield Him, as convicted, to this holy day. For if you would have released one of whose guilt there was no doubt, much more should you do so in doubtful cases. Observe how circumstances are reversed. It is the populace who are wont to petition. for the condemned, and the prince to grant, but here it is the reverse, the prince asks of the people, and renders them thereby more violent.

Gloss., non occ.: The Evangelist adds the reason why Pilate sought to deliver Christ, “For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.”

Remig.: John explains what their envy was, when he says, “Behold, the world is gone after him;” [Joh_12:19] and, “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him.” [Joh_11:48] Observe also that in place of what Matthew says, “Jesus, who is called Christ,” Mark says, “Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?” [Mar_15:9] For the kings of the Jews alone were anointed, and from that anointing were called Christs.

Chrys.: Then is added something else which alone was enough to deter all from putting Him to death; “When he was set on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man.” For joined with the proof afforded by the events themselves, a dream was no light confirmation.

Raban.: It is to be noted, that the bench (tribunal) is the seat of the judge, the throne (solium) of the king, the chair (cathedra) of the master. In visions and dreams the wife of a Gentile understood what the Jews when awake would neither believe nor understand.

Jerome: Observe also that visions are often vouchsafed by God to the Gentiles, and that the confession of Pilate and his wife that the Lord was innocent is a testimony of the Gentile people.

Chrys.: But why did Pilate himself not see this vision? Because his wife was more worthy; or because if Pilate had seen it, he would not have had equal credit, or perhaps would not have told it; wherefore it is provided by God that his wife should see it, and thus it be made manifest to all. And she not merely sees it, but “suffers many things because of him,” so that sympathy with his wife would make the husband more slack to put Him to death. And the time agreed well, for it was the same night that she saw it.

Chrys., Hom. iii, in Caen. Dom.: Thus then the judge terrified through his wife, and that he might not consent in the judgment to the accusation of the Jews, himself endured judgment in the affliction of his wife; the judge is judged, and tortured before he tortures.

Raban.: Or otherwise; The devil now at last understanding that he should lose his trophies through Christ, as be had at the first brought in death by a woman, so by a woman he would deliver Christ out of the hands of His enemies, lest through His death he should lose the sovereignty of death.

Chrys.: But none of the foregoing things moved Christ’s enemies, because envy had altogether blinded them, and of their own wickedness they corrupt the people, for they “persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.”

Origen: Thus it is plainly seen how the Jewish people is moved by its elders and the doctors of the Jewish system, and stirred up against Jesus to destroy Him.

Gloss., non occ.: Pilate is said to make this answer, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?” either to the message of his wife, or the petition of the people, with whom it was a custom to ask such release on the feast-day.

Origen: But the populace, like wild beasts that rage the open plains, would have Barabbas released to them. For this people had seditions, murders, robberies, practised by some of their own nation in act, and nourished by all of them who believe not in Jesus, inwardly in their mind. Where Jesus is not, there are strifes and fightings; where He is, there is peace and all good things. All those who are like the Jews either in doctrine or life desire Barabbas to be loosed to them; for whoso does evil, Barabbas is loosed in his body, and Jesus bound; but he that does good has Christ loosed, and Barabbas bound.

Pilate sought to strike them with shame for so great injustice, “What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ?” And not that only, but desiring to fill up the measure of their guilt. But neither do they blush that Pilate confessed Jesus to be the Christ, nor set any bounds to their impiety, They all say unto him, “Let him be crucified.” Thus they multiplied the sum of their wickedness, not only asking the life of a murderer, but the death of a righteous man, and that the shameful death of the cross.

Raban.: Those who were crucified being suspended on a cross, by nails driven into the wood through their hands and feet, perished by a lingering death, and lived long on the cross, not that they sought longer life, but that death was deferred to prolong their sufferings. The Jews indeed contrived this as the worst of deaths, but it had been chosen by the Lord without their privity, thereafter to place upon the foreheads of the faithful the same cross as a trophy of His victory over the Devil.

Jerome: Yet even after this answer of theirs, Pilate did not at once assent, but in accordance with his wife’s suggestion, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man,” he answered, “Why, what evil hath he done?” This speech of Pilate’s acquits Jesus. “But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified;” that it might be fulfilled which is said in the Psalm, “Many dogs have compassed me, the congregation of the wicked hath inclosed me;” [Psa_22:16] and also that of Hieremias, “Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest, they have given forth their voice against me.” [Jer_12:8]

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 8: Pilate many times pleaded with the Jews, desiring that Jesus might be released, which Matthew witnesses in very few words, when he says, “Pilate seeing that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made.” He would not have spoken thus, if Pilate had not striven much, though how many efforts he made to release Jesus he does not mention.

Remig.: It was customary among the ancients, when one would refuse to participate in any crime, to take water and wash his hands before the people.

Jerome: Pilate took water in accordance with that, “I Will wash my hands in innocency,” [Psa_26:6] in a manner testifying and saying, I indeed have sought to deliver this innocent man, but since a tumult is rising, and the charge of treason to Caesar is urged against me, I am innocent of the blood of this just man. The judge then who is thus compelled to give sentence against the Lord, does not convict the accused, but the accusers, pronouncing innocent Him who is to be crucified.

“See ye to it,” as though be had said, I am the law’s minister, it is your voice that has shed this blood. Then answered all the people and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” This imprecation rests at the present day upon the Jews, the Lord’s blood is not removed from them.

Chrys.: Observe here the infatuation of the Jews; their headlong haste, and destructive passions will not let them see what they ought to see, and they curse themselves, saying, “His blood be upon us,” and even entail the curse upon their children. Yet a merciful God did not ratify this sentence, but accepted such of them and of their children as repented; for Paul was of them, and many thousands of those who in Jerusalem believed.

Leo, Serm., 59, 2: The impiety of the Jews then exceeded the fault of Pilate; but he was not guiltless, seeing he resigned his own jurisdiction, and acquiesced in the injustice of others.

Jerome: It should be known that Pilate administered the Roman law, which enacted that every one who was crucified should first be scourged. Jesus then is given up to the soldiers to be beaten, and they tore with whips that most holy body and capacious bosom of God.

Chrys., Hom. iii, in Caena Dom.: See the Lord is made ready for the scourge, see now it descends upon Him! That sacred skin is torn by the fury of the rods; the cruel might of repeated blows lacerates His shoulders. Ah me! God is stretched out before man, and He, in whom not one trace of sin can be discerned, suffers punishment as a malefactor.

Jerome: This was done that we might be delivered from those stripes of which it is said, “Many stripes shall be to the wicked.” [Psa_32:10] Also in the washing of Pilate’s hands all the works of the Gentiles are cleansed, and we are acquitted of all share in the impiety of the Jews.

Hilary: At the desire of the Priests the populace chose Barabbas, which is interpreted ‘the son of a Father,’ thus shadowing forth the unbelief to come when Antichrist the son of sin should be preferred to Christ.

Raban.: Barabbas also, who headed a sedition among the people, is released to the Jews, that is the Devil, who to this day reigns among them, so that they cannot have peace.

Ver  27. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.28. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.29. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”30. And they spit upon him, and took the reed and smote him on the head.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 9: After the Lord’s trial comes His Passion, which thus begins, “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall,” &c.

Jerome: He had been styled King of the Jews, and the Scribes and Priests had brought this charge against Him, that He claimed sovereignty over the Jewish nation; hence this mockery of the soldiers, taking away His own garments, they put on Him a scarlet cloak to represent that purple fringe which kings of old used to wear, for the diadem they put on Him a crown of thorns, and for the regal sceptre give Him a reed, and perform adoration to Him as to a king.

Aug.: Hence we understand what Mark means by “clothed him with purple;” [Mar_15:17] instead of the royal purple, this scarlet cloak was used in mockery; and there is a shade of purple which is very like scarlet. Or it may be, that Mark spoke of the purple which the cloak contained, though its colour was scarlet.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxvii: What should we henceforth care if any one insults us, after Christ has thus suffered? The utmost that cruel outrage could do was put in practice against Christ; and not one member only, but His whole body suffered injuries; His head from the crown, the reed, and the buffetings; His face which was spit upon; His cheeks which they smote with the palms of their hands; His whole body from the scourging, the stripping to put on the cloak, and the mockery of homage; His hands from the reed which they put into them in mimicry of a sceptre; as though they were afraid of omitting aught of indignity.

Aug.: But Matthew seems to introduce this here as recollected from above, not that it was done at the time Pilate gave Him up for crucifixion. For John puts it before He is given up by Pilate.

Jerome: All these things we may understand mystically. For as Caiaphas said that “it is expedient that one man should die for the people,” [Joh_11:50] not knowing what he said, so these, in all they did, furnished sacraments to us who believe, though they did them with other intention. In the scarlet robe He bears the bloody works of the Gentiles; by the crown of thorns He takes away the ancient curse; with the reed He destroys poisonous animals; or He held the reed in His hand wherewith to write down the sacrilege of the Jews.

Hilary: Or otherwise; The Lord having taken upon Him all the infirmities of our body, is then covered with the  scarlet coloured blood of all the martyrs, to whom is due the kingdom with Him; He is crowned with thorns, that is, with the sins of the Gentiles who once pierced Him, for there is a prick in thorns of which is woven the crown of victory for Christ. In the reed, He takes into His hand and supports the weakness and frailty of the Gentiles; and His head is smitten therewith that the weakness of the Gentiles sustained by Christ’s hand may rest on God the Father, who is His head.

Origen: Or, The reed was a mystery signifying that before we believed we trusted in that reed of Egypt, or Babylon, or of some other kingdom opposed to God, which He took that He might triumph over it with the wood of the cross. With this reed they smite the head of Christ, because this kingdom ever beats against God the Father, who is the head of the Saviour.

Remig.: Or otherwise, By the scarlet robe is denoted the Lord’s flesh, which is spoken of as red by reason of shedding of His blood; by the crown of thorns His taking upon Him our sins, because He appeared “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” [Rom_8:3]

Raban.: They smite the head of Christ with a reed, who speak against His divinity, and endeavour to maintain their error by the authority of Holy Scripture, which is written by a reed. They spit upon His face who reject in abominable words the presence of His grace, and deny that Jesus is come in the flesh. And they mock Him with adoration who believe on Him, but despise Him with perverse works.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., ii, in fin: That they took from off the Lord in His passion His own garment, and put on Him a coloured robe, denotes those heretics who said that He had a shadowy, and not a real body.

Ver  31. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.32. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.33. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,34. They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Gloss, non occ.: After the Evangelist had narrated what concerned the mocking of Christ, he proceeds to His crucifixion.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 9: This is to be understood to have been done at the end of all when He was led off to crucifixion after Pilate had delivered Him up to the Jews.

Jerome: It is to be noted, that when Jesus is scourged and spit upon, He has not on His own garments, but those which He took for our sins; but when He is crucified, and the show of His mockery is completed, then He takes again His former garments, and His own dress, and immediately the elements are shaken, and the creature gives testimony to the Creator.

Origen: Of the cloak it is mentioned that they took it off Him, but of the crown of thorns the Evangelists have not spoken, so that there are now no longer those ancient thorns of ours, since Jesus has taken them from us upon HiS revered head.

Chrys., Hom. de Cruc. et Lat., ii: The Lord would not suffer under a roof, or in the Jewish Temple, that you should not suppose that He was offered for that people alone; but without the city, without the walls, that you might know that the sacrifice was common, that it was the offering of the whole earth, that the purification was general.

Jerome: Let none think that John’s narrative contradicts this place of the Evangelist. John says that the Lord went forth from the praetorium bearing His cross; Matthew tells, that they found a man of Cyrene upon whom they laid Jesus’ cross. We must suppose that as Jesus went out of the praetorium, He was bearing His cross, and that afterwards they met Simon, whom they compelled to bear it.

Origen: Or, as they went out, they laid hold of Simon, but when they drew near to the place in which they would crucify Him, they laid the cross upon Him that He might bear it. Simon obtained not this office by chance, but was brought to the spot by God’s providence, that he might be found worthy of mention in the Scriptures of the Gospel, and of the ministry of the cross of Christ. And it was not only meet that the Saviour should carry His cross, but meet also that we should take part therein, filling a carriage so beneficial to us. Yet would it not have so profited us to take it on us, as we have profited by His taking it upon Himself.

Jerome: Figuratively, the nations take up the cross, and the foreigner by obedience bears the ignominy of the Saviour.

Hilary: For a Jew was not worthy to bear Christ’s cross, but it was reserved for the faith of the Gentiles both to take the cross, and to suffer with Him.

Remig.: For this Simon was not a man of Jerusalem, but a foreigner, and denizen, being a Cyrenean; Cyrene is a town of Lybia. Simon is interpreted ‘obedient,’ and a Cyrenean ‘an heir;’ whence he well denotes the people of the Gentiles, which was strange to the testaments of God, but by believing became a fellow-citizen of the saints, of the household, and an heir of God.

Greg., Hom. in. Ev., xxxii, 3: Or otherwise; By Simon who bears the burden of the Lord’s cross are denoted those who are abstinent and proud; these by their abstinence afflict their flesh, but seek not within the fruit of abstinence. Thus Simon bears the cross, but does not die thereon, as these afflict the body, but in desire of vain-glory live to the world.

Raban.: “Golgotha” is a Syriac word, and is interpreted Calvary.

Jerome: [ed. note, b: He probably refers to an anonymous disputant, of whom he speaks more at length in his Commentary on Ephesians 5, 14; but a tradition to the same effect is mentioned by Origen, whose words, as preserved in a MS. Catena quoted by Ruaeus, are, “A tradition has come down to us, preserved by the Hebrews, that the body of Adam is buried in Calvary, so that as in Adam all die, so in Christ may all be made alive.” And to the same effect Epiphanius cont. Tatian, and the Pseudo-Cyprian. ‘De Resur. Christi.’]

I have heard Calvary expounded as the spot in which Adam was buried, as though it had been so called from the head of the old man being buried there. A plausible interpretation, and agreeable to the ears of the people, yet not a true one. Without the city outside the gate are the places where criminals are executed, and these have got the name of Calvary, that is, of the beheaded. And Jesus was crucified there, that where the plot of criminals had been, there might be set up the flag of martyrdom. But Adam was buried near Ebron and Arbee, as we read in the volume of Jesus the son of Nave. [ed. note: Josh. 14, 15. in the Vulgate, “Adam maximus ibi inter Enacim situs est;” departing from both the Heb. and LXX.]

Hilary: Such is the place of the cross, set up in the centre of the earth, that it might be equally free to all nations to attain the knowledge of God.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 11: “And they gave him to drink wine mingled with gall.” Mark says, “mingled with myrrh.” [Mar_16:23] Matthew put “gall” to express bitterness, but wine mingled with myrrh is very bitter; though indeed it might be, that gall together with myrrh would make the most bitter.

Jerome: The bitter vine makes bitter wine; this they gave the Lord Jesus to drink, that that might be fulfilled which was written, “They gave me also gall for my meat.” [Psa_69:12] And God addresses Jerusalem, “I had planted there a true vine, how art thou turned into the bitterness of a strange vine?” [Jer_2:21]

Aug.: “And when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.” That Mark says, “But he received it not,” we understand to mean that He would not receive it to drink thereof. For that He tasted it Matthew bears witness; so that Matthew’s, “He could not drink thereof,” means exactly the same as Mark’s, “He received it not;” only Mark does not mention His tasting it.

That He tasted but would not drink of it signifies that He tasted the bitterness of death for us, but rose again the third day.

Hilary: Or, He therefore refused the “wine mingled with gall, because the bitterness of sin is not mingled with the incorruption of eternal glory.

Ver  35. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.36. And sitting down they watched him there;37. And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.38. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Gloss, non occ.: Having described how Christ was led to the scene of His Passion, the Evangelist proceeds to the Passion itself, describing the kind of death; “And they crucified him.”

Aug., Lib. 83, Quaest q25: The Wisdom of God took upon Him man, to give us an example how we might live rightly. It pertains to right life not to fear things that are not to be feared. But some men who do not fear death in itself, yet dread some kinds of death. That no sort of death is to be feared by the man who lives aright, was to be shewn by this Man’s cross. For of all the modes of death none was more horrible and fearful than this.

Aug., in Serm., non occ.: Let your holiness consider of what might is the power of the cross. Adam set at nought the commandment, taking the apple from the tree; but all that Adam lost, Christ found upon the cross. The ark of wood saved the human race from the deluge of waters; when God’s people came out of Egypt, Moses divided the sea with his rod, overwhelmed Pharaoh, and redeemed God’s people. The same Moses changed the bitter water into sweet by casting wood into it. By the rod the refreshing stream was drawn out of the rock; that Amalech might be overcome, Moses’ outstretched hands were supported upon his rod; the Law of God is entrusted to the wooden ark of the covenant, that thus, by these steps we may come at last to the wood of the cross.

Chrys., Hom. de Cruc. et Lat. ii: He suffered on a lofty cross, and not under a roof, to the end that the nature of the air might be purified; the earth also partook a like benefit, being cleansed by the blood that dropped from His side.

Gloss., ap. Anselm: The shape of the cross seems also to signify the Church spread through the four quarters of the earth.

Raban.: Or, according to the practical exposition, the cross in respect of its broad transverse piece signifies the joy of him that works, for sorrow produces straitness; for the broad part of the cross is in the transverse beam to which the hands are fastened, and by the hands we understand works. By the upper part to which the head is fastened is denoted our looking for retribution from the supreme righteousness of God. The perpendicular part on which the body is stretched denotes endurance, whence the patient are called ‘long-suffering’ [marg. note: longamines]. The point that is fixed into the ground shadows forth the invisible part of a sacrament.

Hilary: Thus on the tree of life the salvation and life of all is suspended.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 12: Matthew shortly says, “They parted his garments, casting lots;” but John explains more fully how it was done. “The soldiers, when they had crucified him, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat; now the coat was without seam.” [Joh_19:23]

Chrys.: It is to be noted, that this is no small degradation of Christ. For they did this as to one utterly abject and worthless, yet for the thieves they did not the same. For they share the garments only in the case of condemned persons so mean and poor as to possess nothing more.

Jerome: This which was now done to Christ had been prophesied in the Psalm, “They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” [Psa_22:18] It proceeds, “And sitting down, they watched him there.” This watchfulness of the soldiers and of the Priests has proved of use to us in making the power of His resurrection greater and more notorious.

“And they set up over his head his accusation written, This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” I cannot sufficiently wonder at the enormity of the thing, that having purchased false witnesses, and having stirred up the unhappy people to riot and uproar, they found no other plea for putting Him to death, than that He was King of the Jews; and this perhaps they set up in mockery.

Remig.: It was divinely provided that this title should be set up over His head, that the Jews might learn that not even by putting Him to death could they avoid having Him for their King; for in the very instrument of His death He not only did not lose, but rather confirmed His sovereignty.

Origen: The High Priest also in obedience to the letter of the Law wore on his head the writing, ‘Holiness to the Lord,’ but the true High Priest and King, Jesus, bears on His cross the title, “This is the King of the Jews;” when ascending to His Father, instead of His own name with its proper letters, He has the Father Himself.

Raban.: For because He is at once King and Priest, when He would offer the sacrifice of His flesh on the altar of the cross, His title set forth His regal dignity. And it is set over and not beneath the cross, because though He suffered for us on the cross with the weakness of man, the majesty of the King was conspicuous above the cross; and this He did not lose, but rather confirmed, by the cross.

Jerome, Hieron., non occ.: As Christ was made for us a curse of the cross, so for the salvation of all He is crucified as guilty among the guilty.

Leo, Serm. 55, 1: “Two thieves were crucified with him, one on the right hand and one on the left,” that in the figure of His cross might be represented that separation of all mankind which shall be made in His judgment. The Passion then of Christ contains a sacrament of our salvation, and of that instrument which the wickedness of the Jews provided for His punishment, the power of the Redeemer made a step to glory.

Hilary: Or otherwise; Two thieves are set up on His right and left hand, to signify that the entire human race is called to the Sacrament of the Lord’s Passion; but because there shall be a division of believers to the right, and unbelievers to the left, one of the two who is set on His right hand is saved by the justification of faith.

Remig., ap. Gloss. ord.: Or, by the two thieves are denoted all those who strive after the continence of a strict life. They who do this with a single intention of pleasing God, are denoted by him who was crucified on the right hand; they who do it out of desire of human praise or any less worthy motive, are signified by him who was crucified on the left.

Ver  39. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their beads,40. And saying, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”41. Likewise also the Chief Priests mocking him, with the Scribes and elders, said,42. “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.43. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.44. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Chrys.: Having stripped and crucified Christ, they go yet further, and seeing Him on the cross revile Him.

Jerome: “They revile him” because they passed by that way, and would not walk in the true way of the Scriptures. “They wagged their heads,” because they had just before shifted their feet, and stood not upon a rock. The foolish rabble cast the same taunt against Him that the false witnesses had invented, “Aha! thou that destroyest the temple of God and rebuildest it in three days.”

Remig.: “Aha!” is an interjection of taunt and mockery.

Hilary: What forgiveness then for them, when by the resurrection of His body they shall see the temple of God rebuilt within three days?

Chrys.: And as beginning to extenuate His former miracles, they add, “Save thyself; if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Chrys., Hom. de Cruc. et Latr. ii: He, on the contrary, does not come down from the cross, because He is the Son of God; for He therefore came that He might be crucified for us.

Jerome: Even the Scribes and Pharisees reluctantly confess that “He saved others.” Your own judgment then condemns you, for in that He saved others, He could if He would have saved Himself.

Pseudo-Chrys.: [ed. note, d: Hom. de Cruce et Latr. in the Latin Chrys. (ed. Paris. 1588.) vol. iii. p. 750]

But attend to this speech of these children of the Devil, how they imitate their father’s speech. The Devil said, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down;” [Mat_4:6] and they say now, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Leo, Serm. 55, 2: From what source of error, O Jews, have ye sucked in the poison of such blasphemies? What teacher delivered it to you? What learning moved you to think that the true King of Israel, that the veritable Son of God, would be He who would not suffer Himself to be crucified, and would set free His body from the fastenings of the nails? Not the bidden meaning of the Law, not the mouths of the Prophets. Had ye indeed ever read, “I hid not my face from the shame of spitting;” [Isa_50:6] or that again, :They pierced my hands and my feet, they told all my bones.” [Psa_22:16] Where have ye ever read that the Lord came down from the cross? But ye have read, “The Lord hath reigned from the tree.” [ed. note, e: Ps. 96, 10. ‘Dominus regnavit a ligno,’ in the old Italic Version; and so Tertullian adv. Marc. iii. The Vulg. follows the Heb.]

Raban.: Had He then been prevailed on by their taunts to leave the cross, He would not have proved to us the power of endurance; but He waited enduring their mockery; and He who would not come down from the cross, rose again from the tomb.

Jerome: But unworthy of credit is that promise, “And we will believe him.” For which is greater, to come down while yet alive from the cross, or to rise from the tomb when dead? Yet this He did, and ye believed not; therefore neither would ye have believed if He had come down from the cross. It seems to me that this was a suggestion of the daemons. For immediately when the Lord was crucified they felt the power of the cross, and perceived that their strength was broken, and therefore contrive this to move Him to come down from the cross. But the Lord, aware of the designs of His foes, remains on the cross that He may destroy the Devil.

Chrys.: “He trusted in God, let him now deliver him, if he will.” O most foul! Were they therefore not Prophets or righteous men, because God did not deliver them out of their perils? But if He would not oppose their glory, which accrued to them out of the perils which you brought upon them, much more in this man ought you not to be offended because of what He suffers; what He has ever said ought to remove any such suspicion.

When they add, “Because he said, I am the Son of God,” they desire to intimate that He suffered as an impostor and seducer, and as making high and false pretences. And not only the Jews and the soldiers from below, but from above likewise. “The thieves, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.”

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 16: It may seem that Luke contradicts this, when be describes one of the robbers as reviling Him, and as therefore rebuked by the other. But we may suppose that Matthew, shortly alluding to the circumstance, has used the plural for the singular, as in the Epistle to the Hebrews we have, “Have stopped the mouths of lions,” [Heb_11:33] when Daniel only is spoken of. And what more common way of speaking than for one to say, See the country people insult me, when it is one only who has done so. If indeed Matthew had said that both the thieves had reviled the Lord, there would be some discrepancy; but when he says merely, “The thieves,” without adding ‘both,’ we must consider it as that common form of speech in which the singular is signified by the plural.

Jerome: Or it may be said that at first both reviled Him; but when the sun had withdrawn, the earth was shaken, the rocks were rent, and the darkness increased, one believed on Jesus, and repaired his former denial by a subsequent confession.

Chrys.: At first both reviled Him, but afterwards not so. For that you should not suppose that the thing was arranged by any collusion, and that the thief was not a thief, he shews you by his wanton reproaches, that even after He was crucified he was a thief and a foe, but was afterwards totally changed.

Hilary: That both the thieves cast in His teeth the manner of His Passion, shews that the cross should be an offence to all mankind, even to the faithful.

Jerome: Or, in the two thieves both nations, Jews and Gentiles, at first blasphemed the Lord; afterwards the latter terrified by the multitude of signs did penitence, and thus rebukes the Jews, who blaspheme to this day.

Origen: The thief who was saved may be a sign of those who after many sins have believed on Christ.

Ver  45. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.46. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?47. Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, “This man calleth for Elias.”48. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.49. The rest said, “Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.”50. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Pseudo-Chrys., in Hom. de Cruce et Latr.: Creation could not bear the outrage offered to the Creator; whence the sun withdrew his beams, that he might not look upon the crime of these impious men.

Origen: Some take occasion from this text to cavil against the truth of the Gospel. For indeed from the beginning eclipses of the sun have happened in their proper seasons; but such an eclipse as would be brought about by the ordinary course of the seasons could only be at such time as the sun and moon come together, when the moon passing beneath intercepts the sun’s rays. But at the time of Christ’s passion it is clear that this was not the case, because it was the paschal feast, which it was customary to celebrate when the moon was full.

Some believers, desiring to produce some answer to this objection, have said, that this eclipse in accordance with the other prodigies was an exception to the established laws of nature.

Dionys. ad Polycarp. Ep. 7: When we were together at Heliopolis, we both observed such an interference of the moon with the sun quite unexpectedly, for it was not the season of their conjunction; and then from the ninth hour until evening, beyond the power of nature, continuing in a direct line between us and the sun. And this obscuration we saw begin from the east, and so pass to the extreme of the sun’s orb, and again return back the same way, being thus the very reverse of an ordinary eclipse.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxviii: This darkness lasted three hours, whereas an eclipse is transient, and not enduring, as they know who have studied the matter.

Origen: Against this the children of this world urge, How is it that of the Greeks and Barbarians, who have made observations of these things, not one has recorded so remarkable a phenomenon as this? Phlegon indeed has recorded such an event as happening in the time of Tiberius Caesar, but he has not mentioned that it was at the full moon. I think therefore that, like the other miracles which took place at the Passion, the rending of the veil, and the earthquake, this also was confined to Jerusalem.

Or, if any one chooses, it may be extended to the whole of Judaea; as in the book of Kings, Abdias said to Elias, “As the Lord thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee,” [1Ki_18:10] meaning that be had been sought in the countries round about Judaea. Accordingly we might suppose many and dense clouds to have been brought together over Jerusalem and Judaea, enough to produce thick darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour. For we understand that there were two creatures created on the sixth day, the beasts before the sixth hour, man on the sixth; and therefore it was fitting that He who died for the salvation of man should be crucified at the sixth hour, and for this cause that darkness should be over the whole earth from the sixth to the ninth hour. And as by Moses stretching out his hands towards heaven darkness was brought upon the Egyptians who held the servants of God in bondage, so likewise when at the sixth hour Christ stretched out his hands on the cross to heaven, darkness came over all the people who had cried out, “Crucify him,” and they were deprived of all light as a sign of the darkness that should come, and that should envelop the whole people of the Jews. Further, under Moses there was darkness over the land of Egypt three days, but all the children of Israel had light; so under Christ there was darkness over all Judaea for three hours, because for their sins they were deprived of the light of God the Father, the splendour of Christ, and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

But over the rest of the earth there is light, which every where illumines the Church of God in Christ. And if to the ninth hour there was darkness over Judaea, it is manifest that light returned to them again after that; “so, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have entered in, then all Israel shall be saved.” [Rom_11:25]

Chrys.: Or otherwise; The wonder was in this, that the darkness was over the whole earth, which had never come to pass before, save only in Egypt what time the Passover was celebrated; for the things done then were a type of these. And consider the time when this is done; at mid-day, while over the whole world it was day, that all the dwellers on the earth might perceive it. This is the sign He promised to them that asked Him, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign, and there shall no sign be given it save the sign of Jonas the Prophet,” [Mat_12:39] alluding to His cross and resurrection. And it was a much greater marvel that this should come to pass when He was fastened to the cross, than when He was walking at large on the earth.

Surely here was enough to convert them, not by the greatness of the miracle alone, but because it was done not till after all these instances of their frenzy, when their passion was past, when they had uttered all that they would, and were satiated with taunts and gibes. But how did they not all marvel and conclude Him to be God? Because the human race was at that time plunged in exceeding sluggishness and vice, and this wonder was but one, and quickly past away, and none cared to search out its cause, or perhaps they attributed it to eclipse, or some other physical consequence.

And on this account He shortly afterwards lifts up His voice to shew that He yet lives, and Himself wrought this miracle; “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,” &c.

Jerome: He employed the beginning of the twenty-first Psalm. [marg. note: Psa_22:1, Vulg.] That clause in the  middle of the verse, “Look upon me,” is superfluous; for the Hebrew has only ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,’ that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It is impiety therefore to think that this Psalm was spoken in the character of David or Esther or Mardocheus, when passages taken out of it by the Evangelist are understood of the Saviour; as, “They parted my garments among them,” and, “They pierced my hands.”

Chrys.: He uttered this word of prophecy, that He might bear witness to the very last hour to the Old Testament, and that they might see that He honours the Father, and is not against God. And therefore too, He used the Hebrew tongue, that what He said might be intelligible to them.

Origen: But it must be asked, What means this, that Christ is forsaken of God? Some, unable to explain how Christ could be forsaken of God, say that this was spoken out of humility. But you will be able clearly to comprehend His meaning if you make a comparison of the glory which He had with the Father with the shame which He despised when He endured the cross.

Hilary, de Trin. x. 50 &c.: From these words heretical spirits contend either that God the Word was entirely absorbed into the soul at the time it discharged the function of a soul in quickening the body; or that Christ could not have been born man, because the Divine Word dwelt in Him after the manner of a prophetical spirit. As though Jesus Christ was a man of ordinary soul and body, having His beginning then when He began to be man, and thus now deserted upon the withdrawal of the protection of God’s word cries out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Or at least that the nature of the Word being transmuted into soul, Christ, who had depended in all things upon His Father’s support, now deserted and left to death, mourns over this desertion, and pleads with Him departing. But amidst these impious and feeble opinions, the faith of the Church imbued with Apostolic teaching does not sever Christ that He should be considered as Son of God and not as Son of Man. The complaint of His being deserted is the weakness of the dying man; the promise of Paradise is the kingdom of the living God. You have Him complaining that He is left to death, and thus He is Man; you have Him as He is dying declaring that He reigns in Paradise; and thus He is God. Wonder  not then at the humility of these words, when you know the form of a servant, and see the offence of the cross.

Gloss., non occ.: God is said to have forsaken Him in death because He exposed Him to the power of His persecutors; He withdrew His protection, but did not break the union.

Origen: When He saw darkness over the whole land of Judaea He said this, Father, “why hast thou forsaken me?” meaning, Why hast thou given Me over exhausted to such sufferings? that the people who were honoured by Thee may receive the things that they have dared against Me, and should be deprived of the light of Thy countenance. Also, Thou hast forsaken Me for the salvation of the Gentiles. But what good have they of the Gentiles who have believed done, that I should deliver them from the evil one by shedding My precious blood on the ground for them? Or will they, for whom I suffer these things, ever do aught worthy of them? Or foreseeing the sins of those for whom He suffered, He said, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” that I should become “as one that gathereth stubble in the harvest, and gleanings in the vintage.” [Mic_9:1]

But you must not imagine that the Saviour said this after the manner of men by reason of the misery which encompassed Him on the cross; for if you take it so you will not hear His “loud voice” and mighty words which point to something great hidden.

Raban.: Or, The Saviour said this as bearing about with Him our feelings, who when placed in dangers think ourselves forsaken by God. Human nature was forsaken by God because of its sins, and the Son of God becoming our Advocate laments the misery of those whose guilt He took upon Him; [ed. note: “These words He uttered as representing the person of men. For He was never forsaken by His Divine nature; but we were the forsaken, and the overlooked; whence He said this in as representing us.” Damasc. Fid Orth. iii 24. and so Theophylact.] therein shewing how they who sin ought to mourn, when He who never sinned did thus mourn.Jerome: It follows, “Some of them that stood by,” &c.; “some,” not all; whom I suppose to have been Roman soldiers, ignorant of Hebrew, but from the words “Eli, Eli,” thought that He called upon Elias. But if we prefer to suppose them Jews, they do it after their usual manner, that they may accuse the Lord of weakness in thus invoking Elias.

Pseudo-Chrys., Hom. vi in Pass. (vol iii, p. 733): Thus the Source of living water is made to drink vinegar, the Giver of honey is fed with gall; Forgiveness is scourged, Acquittance is condemned, Majesty is mocked, Virtue ridiculed, the Bestower of showers is repaid with spitting.

Hilary: Vinegar is wine, which has turned sour either from neglect, or the fault of the vessel. Wine is the honour of immortality, or virtue. When this then had been turned sour in Adam, He took and drunk it at the hands of the Gentiles. It is offered to Him on a reed and a spunge; that is, He took from the bodies of the Gentiles immortality spoiled and corrupted, and transfused in Himself into a mixture of immortality that in us which was spoiled.

Remig.: Or otherwise; The Jews as degenerating from the wine of the Patriarchs and Prophets were vinegar; they had deceitful hearts, like to the winding holes and hollows in spunge. By the reed, Sacred Scripture is denoted, which was fulfilled in this action; for as we call that which the tongue utters, the Hebrew tongue, or the Greek tongue, for example; so the writing, or letters which the seed produces, we may call a reed.

Origen: And perhaps all who know the ecclesiastical doctrine, but live amiss, have given them to drink wine mingled with gall; but they who attribute to Christ untrue opinions, these filling a sponge with vinegar, put it upon the reed of Scripture, and put it to His mouth.

Raban.: The soldiers misunderstanding the sound of the Lord’s words, foolishly looked for the coming of Elias. But God, whom the Saviour thus invoked in the Hebrew tongue, He had in ever inseparably with Him.

Aug., in Serm., non occ.: When now nought of suffering remains to be endured, death still lingers, knowing that it has nothing there. The ancient foe suspected somewhat unusual. This man, first and only, he found having no sin, free from guilt, owing nothing to the laws of his jurisdiction. But leagued with Jewish madness, Death comes again to the assault, and desperately invades the Life-giver.

“And Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”

Wherefore should we be offended that Christ came from the bosom of the Father to take upon Him our bondage, that He might confer on us His freedom; to take upon Him our death, that we might be set free by His death; by despising death He exalted us mortals into Gods, counted them of earth worthy of things  in heaven? For seeing the Divine power shines forth so brilliant in the contemplation of its works, it is an argument of boundless love, that it suffers for its subjects, dies for its bondsmen. This then was the first cause of the Lord’s Passion, that He would have it known how great God’s love to man, Who desired rather to be loved than feared.

The second was that He might abolish with yet more justice the sentence of death which He had with justice passed. For as the first man had by guilt incurred death through God’s sentence, and handed down the same to his posterity, the second Man, who knew no sin, came from heaven that death might be condemned, which, when commissioned to seize the guilty, had presumed to touch the Author of sinlessness. And it is no wonder if for us He laid down what He had taken of us, His life, namely, when He has done other so great things for us, and bestowed so much on us.

Pseudo-Aug., Vigil cont. Felicianum, 14: Far be from the faithful any suspicion that Christ experienced our death in such sort that life (as far as it can) ceased to live. Had this been so, how could aught have been said to live during that three days, if the Fountain of Life itself was dried up? Therefore Christ’s Godhead experienced death through its partaking of humanity or of human feeling, which it had voluntarily taken on it; but it lost not the properties of its nature by which it gives life to all things. For when we die, without doubt the loss of life by the body is not the destruction of the soul, but the soul quitting the body loses not its own properties, but only lets go what it had quickened, and as far as in it lays produces the death of somewhat else, but itself defies death. To speak now of the Saviour’s soul; it might depart without being itself destroyed from His body for this three days’ space, even by the common laws of death, and without taking into account the indwelling Godhead, and His singular righteousness. For I believe that the Son of God died not in punishment of unrighteousness which He had not at all, but according to the law of that nature which He took upon Him for the redemption of the human race.

Damasc., de Fid. Orth. iii, 27: Although He died as man, and His holy soul was separated from His unstained body, yet His Godhead remained inseparate from either body or soul. Yet was not the one Person divided into two; for as both  body and soul had from the beginning an existence in the Person of the Word, so also had they in death. For neither soul nor body had ever a Person of their own, besides the Person of the Word.

Jerome: It was a mark of Divine power in Him thus to dismiss the Spirit as Himself had said, “No man can take my life from me, but I lay it down and take it again.” [Joh_10:18]

For by “the ghost” in this place we understand the soul; so called either because it is that which makes the body quick or spiritual, or because the substance of the soul itself is spirit, according to that which is written, “Thou takest away their breath, and they die.” [Psa_104:29]

Chrys.: Also for this reason He cried out with a loud voice to shew that this is done by His own power. For by crying out with a loud voice when dying, He shewed incontestably that He was the true God; because a man in dying can scarcely utter even a feeble sound.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 18: Luke mentions the words which He thus cries out, “Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit.”

Hilary: Or, He gave up the ghost with a loud voice, in grief that He was not carrying the sins of all men.

Ver  51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;52. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,53. And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.54. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”55. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:56. Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

Origen: Great things were done at the moment that Jesus cried with a great voice.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 19: The wording sufficiently shews that the veil was rent just when He gave up the ghost. If he had not added, “And, lo!” but had merely said, “And the veil of the temple was rent,: it would have been uncertain whether Matthew and Mark had not inserted it here out of its place as they recollected, and Luke had observed the right order, who having said, “And the sun was darkened,” adds, “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain;” [Luk_23:45] or, on the contrary, Luke had returned to what they had inserted in its place.

Origen: It is understood that there were two veils; one veiling the Holy of Holies, the other, the outer part of the tabernacle or temple. In the Passion then of our Lord and Saviour, it was the outer veil which was rent from the top to the bottom, that by the rending of the veil from the beginning to the end of the world, the mysteries might be published which had been hid with good reason until the Lord’s coming. “But when that which is perfect is come,” [1Co_13:10] then the second veil also shall be taken away, that we may see the things that are hidden within, to wit, the true Ark of the Testament, and behold the Cherubim and the rest in their real nature.

HILARY; Or, The veil of the temple is rent, because from this time the nation was dispersed, and the honour of the veil is taken away with the guardianship of the protecting Angel.

Leo, in Serm. de Pass., non occ.: The sudden commotion in the elements is a sufficient sign in witness of His venerable Passion, “The earth quaked, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened.”

Jerome: It is not doubtful to any what these great signs signify according to the letter, namely, that heaven and earth and all things should bear witness to their crucified Lord.

Hilary: “The earth quaked,” because it was unequal to contain such a body; “the rocks rent,” for the Word of God that pierces all strong and mighty things, and the virtue of the eternal Power had penetrated them; “the graves were opened,” for the bands of death were loosed. “And many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” for illumining the darkness of death, and shedding light upon the gloom of Hades, He robbed the spirits of death.

Chrys.: When He remained on the cross they had said tauntingly, “He saved others, himself he cannot save.” But what He would not do for Himself, that He did and more than that for the bodies of the Saints. For if it was a great thing to raise Lazarus after four days, much more was it that they who had long slept should now shew themselves alive; this is indeed a proof of the resurrection to come. But that it might not be thought that that which was done was an appearance merely, the Evangelist adds, “And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

Jerome: As Lazarus rose from the dead, so also did many bodies of the Saints rise again to shew forth the Lord’s resurrection; yet notwithstanding that the graves were opened, they did not rise again before the Lord rose, that He might be the first-born of the resurrection from the dead.

“The holy city” in which they were seen after they had risen may be understood to mean either the heavenly Jerusalem, or this earthly, which once had been holy. For the city of Jerusalem was called Holy on account of the Temple and the Holy of Holies, and to distinguish it from other cities in which idols were worshipped.

When it is said, “And appeared unto many,” it is signified that this was not a general resurrection which all should see, but special, seen only by such as were worthy to see it.

Remig.: But some one will ask, what became of those who rose again when the Lord rose. We must believe that they rose again to be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection. Some have said that they died again, and were turned to dust, as Lazarus and the rest whom the Lord raised. But we must by no means give credit to these men’s sayings, since if they were to die again, it would be greater torment to them, than if they had not risen again. We ought therefore to believe without hesitation that they who rose from the dead at the Lord’s resurrection, ascended also into heaven together with Him.

Origen: These same mighty works are still done every day; the veil of the temple is rent for the Saints, in order to reveal the things that are contained within. The earthquakes, that is, all flesh because of the new word and new things of the New Testament. The rocks are rent, i.e. the mystery of the Prophets, that we may see the spiritual mysteries bid in their depths. The graves are the bodies of sinful souls, that is, souls dead to God; but when by God’s grace these souls have been raised, their bodies which before were graves, become bodies of Saints, and appear to go out of themselves, and follow Him who rose again, and walk with Him in newness of life; and such as are worthy to have their conversation in heaven enter into the Holy City at divers times, and appear unto many who see their good works.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 20: It is no contradiction here that Matthew says, that “The centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus, feared when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done;” while Luke says, that he wondered at the giving up the ghost with a loud voice. For when Matthew adds, the things that were done, this gives full scope for Luke’s expression, that he wondered at the Lord’s death, for this among the rest was wonderful.

Jerome: Observe, that in the very midst of the offence of His passion the Centurion acknowledges the Son of God, while Arius in the Church proclaims Him a creature.

Raban.: Whence with good reason by the Centurion is denoted the faith of the Church, which, when the veil of heavenly mysteries had been rent by the Lord’s death, immediately asserts Jesus to be both very Man, and truly Son of God, while the Synagogue held its peace.

Leo, Serm. 66, 3: From this example then of the Centurion let the substance of the earth tremble in the punishment of it Redeemer, let the rocks of unbelieving minds be rent, and those who were pent up in these sepulchres of mortality leap forth, bursting the bonds that would detain them; and let them shew themselves in the Holy City, i.e. the Church of God, as signs of the Resurrection to come; and thus let that take place in the heart, which we must believe takes place in the body.

Jerome: It was a Jewish custom, and held no disgrace, according to the manners of the people of old, for women to minister of their substance, food, and clothing to their teachers. This Paul says, that he refused, because it might occasion scandal among the Gentiles. They ministered to the Lord of their substance, that He might reap their carnal things, of whom they reaped spiritual things. Not that the Lord needed food of the creature, but that He might set an example for the teacher, that He should be content to receive food and clothing from His disciples.

But let us see what sort of attendants He had; “Among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.”

Origen: In Mark the third is called Salome.

Chrys.: These women thus watching the things that are done are the most compassionate, the most sorrowful. They had followed Him ministering, and remained by Him in danger, shewing the highest courage, for when the disciples fled they remained.

Jerome, Hieron. adv. Helvid.: ‘See,’ says Helvidius, ‘Jacob and Joseph are the sons of Mary the Lord’s mother, whom the Jews call the brethren of Christ. [marg. note: Mar_6:3] He is also called James the less, to distinguish him from James the greater, who was the son of Zebedee.’ And he urges that ‘it were impious to suppose that His mother Mary would be absent, when the other women were there; or that we should have to invent some other third unknown person of the name of Mary, and that too when John’s Gospel witnesses that His mother was present.’

O blind folly! O mind perverted to its own destruction! Hear what the Evangelist John says: “There stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” [Joh_19:25]

No one can doubt that there were two Apostles called James; the son of Zebedee, and the son of Alpheus. This unknown James the less, whom Scripture mentions as the son of Mary, if he is an Apostle, is the son of Alpheus; if he is not an Apostle, but a third unknown James, how can he be supposed to be the Lord’s brother, and why should he be styled ‘The Less,’ to distinguish him from ‘The Greater?’ For The Greater and The Less are epithets which distinguish two persons, but not three. And that the James, the Lord’s brother, was an Apostle, is proved by Paul, “Other of the Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.” [Gal_1:19]

But that you should not suppose this James to be the son of Zebedee, read the Acts, where he was put to death by Herod. [marg. note: Act_12:1] The conclusion then remains, that this Mary, who is described as the mother of James the less, was wife of Alpheus, and sister of Mary the Lord’s mother, called by John, Mary the wife of Cleophas. But should you incline to think them two different persons, because in one place she is called Mary the mother of James the less, and in another place Mary the wife of Cleophas, you will learn the Scripture custom of calling the same man by different names; as   Raguel Moses’ father-in-law is called Jethro. In like manner then, Mary the wife of Cleophas is called the wife of Alpheus, and the mother of James the less. For if she had been the Lord’s mother, the Evangelist would here, as in all other places, have called her so, and not described her as the mother of James, when he meant to designate the mother of the Lord.

But even if Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, were different persons, it is still certain, that Mary the mother of James and Joses was not the Lord’s mother.

Aug.: We might have supposed that some of the women stood “afar off,” as three Evangelists say, and others “near the cross,” as John says, had not Matthew and Mark reckoned Mary Magdalen among those that stood afar off, while John puts her among those that stood near. This is reconciled if we understand the distance at which they were to be such that they might be said to be near, because they were in His sight; but far off in comparison of the crowd who stood nearer with the centurion and soldiers. We might also suppose that they who were there together with the Lord’s mother, began to depart after He had commended her to the disciple, that they might extricate themselves from the crowd, and looked on from a distance at the other things which were done, so that the Evangelists, who speak of them after the Lord’s death, speak of them as standing afar off.

Ver  57. When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:58. He went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.59. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,60. And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.61. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Gloss., non occ.: When the Evangelist had finished the order of the Lord’s Passion and death, he treats of His burial.

Remig.: Arimathea is the same as Ramatha, the city of Helcana and Samuel, and is situated in the Chananitic country near Diospolis. This Joseph was a man of great dignity in respect of worldly station, but has the praise of much higher merit in God’s sight, seeing he is described as righteous. Indeed he that should have the burial of the Lord’s body ought to have been such, that he might be deserving of that office by righteous merit.

Jerome: He is described as rich, not out of any ambition on the part of the writer to represent so noble and rich a man as Jesus’ disciple, but to shew how he was able to obtain the body of Jesus from Pilate. For poor and unknown individuals would not have dared to approach Pilate, the representative of Roman power, and ask the body of a crucified malefactor.

In another Gospel this Joseph is called a counsellor; and it is supposed that the first Psalm has reference to him, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.” [Psa_1:1]

Chrys.: Consider this man’s courage; he risked his life, and took upon him many enmities in order to render this service; and not only dares to ask for Christ’s body, but also to bury it.

Jerome: By this simple burial of the Lord is condemned the ostentation of the rich, who cannot dispense with lavish expense even in their tombs. But we may also consider in a spiritual sense, that the Lord’s body was wrapped not in gold, jewels, or silk, but in clean linen; and that he who wrapped it, is he who embraces Jesus with a pure heart.

Remig.: Or, otherwise; The linen is grown out of the ground, and is bleached to whiteness with great labour, and thus this signifies that His body which was taken of the earth, that is of a Virgin, through the toil of passion came to the whiteness of immortality.

Raban.: From this also has prevailed in the Church the custom of celebrating the sacrifice of the altar not in silk, or in coloured robes, but in linen grown from the earth, as we read, was ordered by the Holy Pope Silvester.

Pseudo-Aug., Serm. App., 248, 4: The Saviour was laid in a tomb belonging to another man, because He died for the salvation of others. For why should He who in Himself had no death, have been laid in His own tomb? Or He whose place was reserved for Him in heaven, have had a monument upon earth? He who remained but three days space in the tomb, not as dead, but as resting on His bed? A tomb is the necessary abode of death; Christ then, who is our life, could not have an abode of death; He that ever liveth had no need of the dwelling of the departed.

Jerome: He is laid in a new tomb, lest after His resurrection it should be pretended that it was some other who had risen when they saw the other bodies there remaining. The new tomb may also signify the virgin womb of Mary. And He was laid in a tomb hewn out of the rock, lest had it been one raised of many stones, it might have been said that He was stolen away by undermining the foundations of the pile.

Pseudo-Aug., Aug in Serm., non occ.: Had the tomb been in the earth, it might have been said they undermined the place, and so carried Him off. Had a small stone been laid thereon, they might have said, They carried Him off while we slept.

Jerome: That a great stone was rolled there, shews that the tomb could not have been reopened without the united strength of many.

Hilary: Mystically, Joseph affords a figure of the Apostles. He wraps the body in a clean linen cloth, in which same linen sheet were let down to Peter out of heaven all manner of living creatures; whence we understand, that under the representation of this linen cloth the Church is buried together with Christ. The Lord’s body moreover is laid in a chamber hewn out of rock, empty and new; that is, by the teaching of the Apostles, Christ is conveyed into the hard breast of the Gentiles hewn out by the toil of teaching, rude and new, hitherto unpenetrated by any fear of God. And for that besides Him ought nothing to enter our breasts, a stone is rolled to the mouth, that as before Him we had received no author of divine knowledge, so after Him we should admit none.

Origen: This is no casual mention of the circumstances that the body was wrapped in clean linen, and laid in a new tomb, and a great stone rolled to the month, but that every thing touching the body of Jesus is clean, and new, and very great.

Remig.: When the Lord’s body was buried, and the rest returned to their own places, the women alone, who had loved Him more attachedly adhered to Him, and with anxious care noted the place where the Lord’s body was laid, that at fit time they might perform the service of their devotion to him.

Origen: The mother of the sons of Zebedee is not mentioned as having sat over against the sepulchre. And perhaps she was able to endure as far as the cross only, but these as stronger in love were not absent even from the things that were afterwards done.

Jerome: Or, when the rest left the Lord, the women continued in their attendance, looking for what Jesus had promised; and therefore they deserved to be the first to see the resurrection, because “he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” [Mat_10:22]

Remig.: And to this day the holy women, that is, the lowly souls of the saints, do the like in this present world, and with pious assiduity wait while Christ’s passion is being completed.

Ver  62. Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the Chief Priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,63. Saying, “Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.64. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.65 Pilate said unto them, “Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.”66 So they went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

Jerome: It was not enough for the Chief Priests to have crucified the Lord the Saviour, if they did not guard the sepulchre, and do their utmost to lay hands on Him as He rose from the dead.

Raban.: By the Parasceve is meant ‘preparation;’ and they gave this name to the sixth day of the week, on which they made ready the things needed for the Sabbath, as was commanded respecting the manna, “On the sixth day they gathered twice as much.” [Exo_16:22] Because on the sixth day man was made, and on the seventh God rested; therefore on the sixth day Jesus died for man, and rested the Sabbath day in the tomb. The Chief Priests although in putting the Lord to death they had committed a heinous crime, yet were they not satisfied unless even after His death they carried on the venom of their malice once begun, traducing His character, and calling one, whom they knew to be guileless, “a deceiver.” [Joh_11:49]

But as Caiaphas prophesied without knowing it, that “it is expedient that one man should die for the people,” so now, Christ was a deceiver [marg. note: seductor], not from truth into error, but leading men from error to truth, from vices to virtue, from death to life.

Remig.: They say that He had declared, “After three days I will rise again,” in consequence of that He said above, “As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly,” &c. [Mat_12:40] But let us see in what way He can be said to have risen again after three days. Some would have the three hours of darkness understood as one night, and the light succeeding the darkness as a day, but these do not know the force of figurative language.

The sixth day of the week on which He suffered comprehended the foregoing night; then follows the night of the Sabbath with its own day, and the night of the Lord’s day includes also its own day; and hence it is true that He rose again after three days.

Aug., Aug. in Serm., non occ.: He rose again after three days, to signify the consent of the whole Trinity in the passion of the Son; the three days’ space is read figuratively, because the Trinity which in the beginning made man, the same in the end restores man by the passion of Christ.

Raban.: “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day.” For Christ’s disciples were spiritually thieves; stealing from the unthankful Jews the writings of the New and Old Testament, they bestowed them to be used by the Church; and while they slept, that is, while the Jews were sunk in the lethargy of unbelief, they carried off the promised Saviour, and gave Him to be believed on by the Gentiles.

Hilary: Their fear lest the body should be stolen, the setting a watch on the tomb, and sealing it, are marks of folly and unbelief, that they should have sought to seal up the tomb of One at whose bidding they had seen a dead man raised from the tomb.

Raban.: When they say, “And the last error will be worse than the first,” they utter a truth unwittingly, for their contempt of penitence was worse for the Jews than was their error of ignorance.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxix: Observe how against their will they concert to demonstrate the truth, for by their precautions irrefragable demonstration of the resurrection was attained. The sepulchre was watched, and so no fraud could have been practised; and if there was no collusion, it is certain that the Lord rose again.

Raban.: Pilate’s answer to their request is as much as to say, Be it enough for you that ye have conspired the death of an innocent man, henceforth let your error remain with you.

Chrys.: Pilate will not suffer that the soldiers alone should seal. But as though he had learnt the truth concerning Christ, he was no longer willing to be partner in their acts, and says, Seal it as ye will yourselves, that ye may not be able to accuse others. For had the soldiers alone sealed, they might have said that the soldiers had suffered the disciples to steal the body, and so given the disciples a handle to forge a tale concerning the resurrection; but this could they not say now, when they themselves had sealed the sepulchre.

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Post 1: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on the Palm Sunday Gospel (Matt 26:14-75)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 13, 2011

To view post 2 on Matt 27:1-66 go here.

Ver  14. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the Chief Priests,15. And said unto them, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Gloss., non. occ.: Having described the occasion of his treachery, the Evangelist proceeds to recount the manner of it.

Chrys.: “Then,” when, that is, he heard that this Gospel should be preached every where; for that made him afraid, as it was indeed a mark of unspeakable power.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: The order of the narrative is this. The Lord says, “Ye know that after two days will be the feast of the Passover; . . . then assembled together the Chief Priests and Scribes; . . . then went one of the twelve.”

Thus the narrative of what took place at Bethany is inserted by way of digression, respecting an earlier time between that, “Lest there be an uproar,” and, “Then one of the twelve.”

Origen: “Went,” against that one high priest, who was made a Priest for ever, to many high priests, to sell for a price Him who sought to redeem the whole world.

Raban.: “Went,” he says, because he was neither compelled, nor invited, but of his own free will formed the wicked design.

Chrys.: “One of the twelve,” as much as to say, of that first band who are elected for preeminent merit.

Gloss, non. occ: He adds his distinctive appellation, “Scarioth,” for there was another Judas.

Remig.: So called from the village Scariotha, from which he came.

Leo, Serm., 60, 4: He did not out of any fear forsake Christ, but through lust of money cast Him off; for in comparison of the love of money all our affections are feeble; the soul athirst for gain fears not to die for a very little; there is no  trace of righteousness in that heart in which covetousness has once taken up its abode. The traitor Judas, intoxicated with this bane, in his thirst for lucre was so foolishly hardened, as to sell his Lord and Master.

Jerome: The wretched Judas would fain replace, by the sale of his Master, that loss which he supposed he had incurred by the ointment. And he does not demand any fixed sum, lest his treachery should seem a gainful thing, but as though delivering up a worthless slave, he left it to those who bought, to determine how much they would give.

Origen: The same do all who take any material or worldly things to cast out of their thoughts the Saviour and the word of truth which was in them. “And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver,” as many pieces as the Saviour had dwelt years in the world.

[ed. note: i.e. Before He began His ministry, as what follows in Origen shews. For though Origen had at one time considered the duration of Our Lord’s ministry not to have exceeded one year and a few months, he had changed that opinion before this commentary on S. Matt. was written. In it he more than once mentions three years as the probable period. vid. Comm. in Matt. Ser., sect 40]

Jerome: Joseph was not sold as many, following the LXX [septuagint], think for twenty pieces of gold, but as the Hebrew text has for twenty pieces of silver, [marg. note: Gen 37:28] for it could not be that the servant should be more valuable than his Master.

Aug., Quaest Ev., i, 41: That the Lord was sold for thirty pieces of silver by Judas, denotes the unrighteous Jews, who pursuing things carnal and temporal, which belong to the five bodily senses, refuse to have Christ; and forasmuch as they did this in the sixth age of the world, their receiving five times six as the price of the Lord is thus signified; and because the Lord’s words are silver, but they understood even the Law carnally, they had, as it were, stamped on silver the image of that worldly dominion which they held to when they renounced the Lord.

Origen: The “opportunity” which Judas sought is further explained by Luke, “how he might betray him in the absence of the multitude;” [Luke 22:6] when the populace was not with Him, but He was withdrawn with His disciples. And this he did, delivering Him up after supper, when He was withdrawn to the garden of Gethsemane. And from that time forward, such has been the season sought for by those that would betray the word of God in time of persecution, when the multitude of believers is not around the word of truth.

Ver  17. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?”18. And he said, “Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.”19. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.

Gloss., non occ.: The Evangelist having gone through the events preliminary to the Passion, namely, the announcement of the counsel of the Chief Priests, and the covenant for His betrayal, prosecutes the history in the order of events, saying, “On the first day of unleavened bread.”

Jerome: The first day of unleavened bread is the fourteenth day of the first month, when the lamb is killed, the moon is at full, and leaven is put away.

Remig.: And observe that with the Jews, the Passover is celebrated on the first day, and the following seven are called the days of unleavened bread; but here the first day of unleavened bread means the day of the Passover.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxi: Or, by “the first day,” he means the day before the days of unleavened bread. For the Jews always reckoned their day from the evening; and this day of which he speaks was that on the evening of which they were to kill the Passover, namely, the fifth day of the week.

[ed. note: This passage has been altered by the text of S. Chrys. The Catena has, ‘Vel hanc primam diem azymorum dicit quia septem dies azymorum erant.”]

REMIG. But perhaps some one will say, If that typical lamb bore a type of this the true lamb, how did not Christ suffer on the night on which this was always killed? It is to be noted, that on this night, He committed to His disciples the mysteries of His flesh and blood to be celebrated, and then also being seized and bound by the Jews, He hallowed the commencement of His sacrifice, i.e. His Passion. “The disciples came” unto him;” among these no doubt was the traitor Judas.

Chrys.: Hence it is evident that He had neither house nor lodging. Nor, I conclude, had the disciples any, for they would surely have invited Him thither.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 80: “Go into the city to such a man,” Him whom Mark and Luke call “the good-man of the house,” or “the I master of the house.” And when Matthew says, “to such a man,” he is to be understood to say this as from himself for brevity’s sake; for every one knows that no man speaks thus, “Go ye to such a man.” And Matthew adds these words, “to such a man,” not that the Lord used the very expression, but to convey to us that the disciples were not sent to any one in the city, but to some certain person.

Chrys.: Or, we may say that this, “to such a man,” shews that He sent them to some person unknown to them, teaching them thereby that He was able to avoid His Passion. For He who prevailed with this man to entertain Him, how could He not have prevailed with those who crucified Him, had He chosen not to suffer? Indeed, I marvel not only that he entertained Him, being a stranger, but that he did it in contempt of the hatred of the multitude.

Hilary: Or, Matthew does not name the man in whose house Christ would celebrate the Passover, because the Christian name was not yet held in honour by the believers.

Raban.: Or, he omits the name, that all who would fain celebrate the true Passover, and receive Christ within the dwelling place of their own minds, should understand that the opportunity is afforded them.

Jerome: In this also the New Scripture observes the practice of the Old, in which we frequently read, ‘He said unto him,’ and ‘In this or that place,’ without any name of person or place.

Chrys.: “My time is at hand,” this He said, both by so manifold announcements of His Passion, fortifying His disciples against the event, and at the same time shewing that He undertook it voluntarily. “I will keep the Passover at thy house,” wherein we see, that to the very last day He was not disobedient to the Law. “With my disciples,” He adds, that there might be sufficient preparation made, and that he to whom He sent might not think that He desired to be concealed.

Origen: Some one may argue [marg. note: e.g. The Ebionites], that because Jesus kept the Passover with Jewish observances, we ought to do the same as followers of Christ, not remembering that Jesus was “made under the Law,” though not that He should leave “under the Law” [Gal 4:4] those who were under it, but should “lead them out” of it; how much less fitting then is it, that those who before were without the Law, should afterwards enter in? We celebrate spiritually the things which were carnally celebrated in the Law, keeping the Passover “in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” [1 Cor 5:8] according to the will of the Lamb, who said, “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall not have life in you.” [John 6:53]

Ver  20. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.21. And as they did eat, he said, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.”22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, “Lord, is it I?”23. And he answered and said, “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.24. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.”25. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, “Master, is it I?” He said unto him, “Thou hast said.”

Jerome: The Lord had above foretold His Passion, He now foretels who is to be the traitor; thus giving him place of repentance, when he should see that his thoughts and the secret designs of his heart were known.Remig.: “With the twelve,” it is said, for Judas was personally among them, though he had ceased to be so in merit.

Jerome: Judas acts in every thing to remove all suspicion of his treachery.

Remig.: And it is beautifully said, “When even was come,” because it was in the evening that the Lamb was wont to be slain.

Raban.: For this reason also, because in Christ’s Passion, wherein the true sun hasted to his setting, eternal refreshment was made ready for all believers.

Chrys.: The Evangelist relates how as they sat at meat, Jesus declares Judas’ treachery, that the wickedness of the betrayer may be more apparent from the season and the circumstances.

Leo, Serm. 58, 3: He shews that the conscience of His betrayer was known to Him, not meeting his wickedness with a harsh and open rebuke, that penitence might find a readier way to one who had not been disgraced by public dismissal.

Origen: Or, He spoke generally, to prove the nature of each of their hearts, and to evince the wickedness of Judas, who would not believe in One who knew his heart. I suppose that at first he supposed that the thing was hid from Him, deeming Him man, which was of unbelief; but when he saw that his heart was known, he embraced the concealment offered by this general way of speaking, which was shamelessness.

This also shews the goodness of the disciples, that they believed Christ’s words more than their own consciences, “for they began each to say, Lord, is it I?” For they knew by what Jesus had taught them that human nature is readily turned to evil, and is in continual struggle with “the rulers of the darkness of this world;” [Eph 6:12] whence they ask as in fear, for by reason of our weakness the future is an object of dread to us.

When the Lord saw the disciples thus alarmed for themselves, He pointed out the traitor by the mark of the prophetic declaration, “He that hath eaten bread with me hath wantonly overthrown me.” [Ps 41:9]

Jerome: O wonderful endurance of the Lord, He had said before, “One of you shall betray me.” The traitor perseveres in his wickedness; He designates him more particularly, yet not by name. For Judas, while the rest were sorrowful, and withdrew their hands, and bid away the food from their months, with the same hardihood and recklessness which led him to betray Him, reached forth his hand into the dish with his Master, passing off his audacity as a good conscience.

Chrys.: I rather think that Christ did this out of regard for him, and to bring him to a better mind.

Raban.: What Matthew calls ‘paropsis,’ Mark calls ‘catinus.’ The ‘paropsis’ is a square dish for meat, ‘catinus,’ an earthen vessel for containing fluids; this then might be a square earthen vessel.

Origen: Such is the wont of men of exceeding wickedness, to plot against those of whose bread and salt they have partaken, and especially those who have no enmity against them. But if we take it of the spiritual table, and the spiritual food, we shall see the more abundant and overflowing measure of this man’s wickedness, who called to mind neither his Master’s love in providing carnal goods, nor His teaching in things spiritual. Such are all in the Church who lay snares for their brethren whom they continually meet at the same table of Christ’s Body.

Jerome: Judas, not withheld by either the first or second warning, perseveres in his treachery; the Lord’s long-suffering nourishes his audacity. Now then his punishment is foretold, that denunciations of wrath may correct where good feeling has no power.

Remig.: It belongs to human nature to come and go, Divine nature remains ever the same. So because His human nature could suffer and die, therefore of the Son of Man it is well said that “he goeth.” He says plainly, “As it is written of him,” for all that He suffered had been foretold by the Prophets.

Chrys.: This He said to comfort His disciples, that they might not think that it was through weakness that He suffered; and at the same time for the correction of His betrayer. And notwithstanding His Passion had been foretold, Judas is still guilty; and not his betrayal wrought our salvation, but God’s providence, which used the sins of others to our profit.

Origen: He said not, By whom “the Son of Man is betrayed,” but “through whom,” [John 13:2] pointing out another, to wit the Devil, as the author of His betrayal, Judas as the minister. But woe also to all betrayers of Christ! and such is every one who betrays a disciple of Christ.

Remig.: Woe also to all who draw near to Christ’s table with an evil and defiled conscience! who though they do not deliver Christ to the Jews to be crucified, deliver Him to their own sinful members to be taken. He adds, to give more emphasis, “Good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

Jerome: We are not to infer from this that man has a being before birth; for it cannot be well with any man till he has a being; it simply implies that it is better not to be, than to be in evil.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 40: And if it be contended that there is a life before this life, that will prove that not only not for Judas, but for none other is it good to have been born. Can it mean, that it were better for him not to have been born to the Devil, namely, for sin? Or does it mean that it had been good for him not to have been born to Christ at his calling, that he should now become apostate?

Origen: After all the Apostles had asked, and after Christ had spoken of him, Judas at length enquired of himself, with the crafty design of concealing his treacherous purpose by asking the same question as the rest; for real sorrow brooks not suspense.

Jerome: His question feigns either great respect, or a hypocritical incredulousness. The rest who were not to betray Him, said only “Lord;” the actual traitor addresses Him as “Master,” as though it were some excuse that he denied Him as Lord, and betrayed a Master only.

Origen: Or, out of sycophancy he calls Him Master, while be holds Him unworthy of the title.

Chrys.: Though the Lord could have said, Hast thou covenanted to receive silver, and darest to ask Me this? But Jesus, most merciful, said nothing of all this, therein laying down for us rules and landmarks of endurance of evil.  “He saith unto him, Thou hast said.”

Remig.: Which may be understood thus; Thou sayest it, and thou sayest what is true; or, Thou hast said this, not I; leaving him room for repentance so long as his villainy was not publicly exposed.

Raban.: This might have been so said by Judas, and answered by the Lord as not to be overheard by the rest.

26. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

Jerome: When the typical Passover was concluded, and He had partaken of the Lamb with His Apostles, He comes to the true paschal sacrament; that, as Melchisedech [marg. note: Gen 14:18], Priest of the most high God, had done in foreshadowing Christ, offering bread and wine, He also should offer the present verity of His Body and Blood.

[ed. note: Many of the passages here quoted appear to have been taken by S. Thomas from the Decretum of Gratian, though the Catena gives no reference to this compilation. Whenever they can be found, the originals are referred to in the margin, and the important differences or additions are noticed in the note. The present passage from S. Jerome (in Joe.) is found in Gratian. de Cons. ii. 88; that which follows from S. Augustine, ibid, 53. The next passage headed ‘Gloss.’ cannot be found any where.]

Aug., Ep. 54, 7: “And as they were eating,” whereby it is clearly seen that at their first partaking of the Lord’s Body and Blood, the disciples did not partake fasting. But are we therefore to except against the practice of the whole Church, of receiving fasting? It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost, that for the better honour of so great a Sacrament, the Lord`s Body should enter the Christian’s mouth before other food. For to commend more mightily the depth of this mystery, the Saviour chose this as the last thing He would imprint on the hearts and memory of His disciples, from whom He was to depart to His Passion. But He did not direct in what order it should thenceforth be taken, that He might reserve that for the Apostles by whom He would regulate His Church.

Gloss., non occ.: Christ delivered to us His Flesh and Blood under another kind, and ordained them to be thenceforth so received, that faith might have its merit, which is of things that are not seen.

Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., vi, 1 [ed. note: S. Ambrose’s name has been retained at the head of the passages out of the Treatise ‘De Sacramentis,’ because it is placed in the Ben. ed. among the genuine works of S. Ambrose, and not in the Appendix. But there seems to be little doubt of its spuriousness. See Jenkyns’ note to Cranmer’s ‘Defence, &c.’ in Cranmer’s Works, ii. 326]: And that we might not be shocked by the sight of blood, while it at the same time wrought the price of our redemption.

Aug., in Joan. Tr. 26, 17, cf Serm. 227, 1: The Lord committed His Body and Blood to substances which are formed a homogeneous compound out of many. Bread is made of many grains, wine is produced out of many berries. Herein the Lord Jesus Christ signified us, and hallowed in His Own table the mystery of our peace and unity.

Remig.: Fittingly also did He offer fruit of the earth, to shew thereby that He came to take away the curse wherewith the earth was cursed for the sin of the first man. Also He bade be offered the produce of the earth, and the things for which men chiefly toil, that there might be no difficulty in procuring them, and that men might offer sacrifice to God of the work of their hands.

Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., iv, 3: Hence learn that the Christian mysteries were before the Jewish. Melchisedech offered bread and wine, being in all things like the Son of God, to Whom it is said, “Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech;” [Ps 110:4] and of Whom it is here said, “Jesus took bread.” [John 12:24]

Gloss., non occ.: [ed. note: This Gloss is partly from the Gloss on Gratian de Cons. d. ii. c. 5. The next passage is headed ‘Gregorius in Registro’ in the editions, and is so quoted by S. Thomas, Summa 3. q. 74. art. 4. but cannot be found in S. Greg.]

This, we must understand to be wheat bread for the Lord compared Himself to a grain of wheat, saying, “Except a corn fall into the ground &c.” Such bread also is suitable for the Sacrament, because it is in common use; bread of other kinds being only made when this fails. But forasmuch as Christ up to the very last day, to use the words of Chrysostom as above [marg. note: shewed that He did nothing contrary to the Law, and the Law commanded that unleavened bread should be eaten in the evening when the Passover was slain, and that all leavened should be put away, it is manifest that the bread which the Lord took and gave to His disciples was unleavened.

Greg., non occ.: It has given trouble to divers persons, that in the Church some offer unleavened and others leavened bread. The Roman Church offers unleavened, because the Lord took flesh without any pollution [marg. note: commixtione]; other [marg. note: Graecaesc] Churches offer leavened bread, because the Word of the Father took flesh upon Him, and is Very God, and Very Man; and so the leaven is mingled with the flour. But whether we receive leavened or unleavened, we are made one body of the Lord our Saviour.

Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., iv, 4: This bread before the sacramentary words, is the bread in common use; after consecration it is made of bread Christ’s flesh. And what are the words, or whose are the phrases of consecration, save those of the Lord Jesus? For if His word had power to make those things begin to be which were not, how much rather will it not be efficacious to cause them to remain what they are, while they are at the same time changed into somewhat else? For if the heavenly word has been effectual in other matters, is it ineffectual in heavenly sacraments? Therefore of the bread is made the Body of Christ, and the wine is made blood by the consecration of the heavenly word.

[ed. note: ap. Grat. ibid. 54. On this remarkable passage it may be observed, first, S. Ambrose is referring to the creation, and his meaning is, “If his word had power to make these things,” i.e. heaven and earth, “begin to be, which were not, how much rather is it not efficacious to make those things,” i.e. the bread, not begin, but “continue to be, which were already, and are but changed into something else?”

2. Next he illustrates the change by our own change in regeneration. “Tu ipse eras, sed eras vetus creatura; postea quam consecratus es, nova creatura esse cepisti.”

3. There is no introduction of the word “substance,” i.e. no assertion of transubstantiation.]

Dost thou enquire after the manner? Learn. The course of nature is, that a man is not born but of man and woman, but by God’s will Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and a Virgin.

Paschasius: As then real flesh was created by the Holy Spirit without sexual union, so by the same Holy Spirit the substance of bread and wine are consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ. And because this consecration is made by the Lords word, it is added, “He blessed.”

[ed. note: This passage is quoted in the Bodl. MS. and early editions of the Cat., as ‘Augustinus in Verb. Dom.’ Gratian also (de Cons. d. ii. 72.) gives it as Augustine’s, but the earliest author in whom it is found is Paschasius Radbertus, Abbot of Corbey, and a well-known writer of the ninth century, ‘De Corpore et Sanguine Dom.’ 4.]

Remig.: Hereby He shewed also that He together with the Father and the Holy Spirit has filled human nature with the grace of His divine power, and enriched it with the boon of immortality. And to shew that His Body was not subject to passion but of His own will, it is added, “And brake.”

Lanfranc: When the host is broken, when the blood is poured from the cup into the mouth of the faithful, what else is denoted but the offering of the Lord’s Body on the cross, and the shedding of His Blood out of His side?

[ed. note: This is quoted in the early editions, and in Gratian de Cons. ii. 37. as Augustinus ‘in Libro Sent. Prosper.’ but does not occur in that collection of Prosper as we have it. It is found in Lanfranc cont. Bereng. 13.]

Dionysius, Eccl. Hier., 3, in fin: In this is also shewn, that the one and uncompounded Word of God came to us compounded and visible by taking human nature upon Him, and drawing to Himself our society, made us partakers of the spiritual goods which He distributed, as it follows, “And gave to his disciples.”

Leo, Serm. 58, 3: Not excluding the traitor even from this mystery, that it might be made manifest that Judas was provoked by no wrong, but that he had been foreknown in voluntary impiety.

Aug., in Joan Tr., 59: Peter and Judas received of the same bread, but Peter to life, Judas to death.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxii: And this John shews when be says “After the sop, Satan entered into him.” [John 13:27] For his sin was aggravated in that he came near to these mysteries with such a heart, and that having come to them, he was made better neither by fear, kindness, nor honour. Christ hindered him not, though He knew all things, that you may learn that He omits nothing which serves for correction.

Remig.: In so doing He left an example to the Church, that it should sever no one from its fellowship, or from the communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, but for some notorious and public crime.

Hilary: Or, The Passover was concluded by the taking the cup and breaking the bread without Judas, for he was unworthy the communion of eternal sacraments. And that he had left them we learn from thence, that he returns with a multitude.

Aug.: [ed. note: This passage, headed ‘Augustinus’ in the Bodl. MS., and ‘Aug de Verb. Dom.’ in the earlier editions, is apparently taken from two canons in the 3d pt. of Gratian, viz. c. 70. and c. 58. to which Augustine’s name is there prefixed. It has not been found in S. Augustine’s works. But it is found in Bede on I Cor. x. who also quotes it from ‘Aug. de verb. Evang.’]

“And said, Take, eat;” The Lord invites His servants to set before them Himself for food. But who would dare to eat his Lord? This food when eaten refreshes, but fails not; He lives after being eaten, Who rose again after being put to death. Neither when we eat Him do we divide His substance; but thus it is in this Sacrament. The faithful know how they feed on Christ’s flesh, each man receives a part for himself. He is divided into parts in the Sacrament, yet He remains whole; He is all in heaven, He is all in thy heart.

They are called Sacraments, because in them what is seen is one thing, what is understood is another; what is seen has a material form, what is understood has spiritual fruit.

Aug., in Joan. Tr., 27, 11: Let us not eat Christ’s flesh only in the Sacrament, for that do many wicked men, but let us eat to spiritual participation, that we may abide as members in the Lord’s body, that we may be quickened by His Spirit.

Ambrose, de Sacr., iv, 5: Before consecration, it is bread; after Christ’s words, “This is my body,” have been pronounced, it is Christ’s Body.

Ver  27. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all of it;28. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.29. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Remig.: The Lord having given His disciples His Body under the element of bread [marg. note: sub specie panis], well gives the cup of His Blood to them likewise; shewing what joy He has in our salvation, seeing He even shed His Blood for us.

Chrys.: He gave thanks to instruct us after what manner we ought to celebrate this mystery, and shewed also thereby that He came not to His Passion against His will. Also He taught us to bear whatsoever we suffer with thanksgiving, and infused into us good hopes.

For if the type of this sacrifice, to wit, the offering of the paschal lamb, became the deliverance of the people from Egyptian bondage, much more shall the reality thereof be the deliverance of the world.

“And gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.” That they should not be distressed at hearing this, He first drank His own blood to lead them without fear to the communion of these mysteries.

Jerome, Hieron. Ep. 120, ad Hedib: Thus then the Lord Jesus was at once guest and feast, the eater and the things eaten. [ed. note: ap. Grat. do Consecr. d. ii. 87.]

Chrys.: “This is my blood of the new testament;” that is, the new promise, covenant, law; for this blood was promised from of old, and this guarantees the new covenant; for as the Old Testament had the blood of sheep and goats, so the New has the Lord’s Blood.

Remig.: For thus it is read, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath made with you.” [Ex 24:8]

Chrys.: And in calling it blood, He foreshews His Passion, “My blood … which shall be shed for many.” Also the purpose for which He died, adding, “For the remission of sins;” as much as to say, The blood of the lamb was shed in Egypt for the salvation of the first born of the Israelites, this My Blood is shed for the remission of sins.

Remig.: And it is to be noted, that He says not, For a few, nor, For all, but, “For many;” because He came not to redeem a single nation, but many out of all nations.

Chrys.: Thus saying, He shews that His Passion is a mystery of the salvation of men, by which also He comforts His disciples. And as Moses said, “This shall be an ordinance to thee for ever,” [Ex 12:24] so Christ speaks as Luke relates, “This do in remembrance of me.” [Luke 22:19]

Remig.: And He taught us to offer not bread only, but wine also, to shew that they who hungered and thirsted after righteousness were to be refreshed by these mysteries.

Gloss., non occ.: As the refreshment of the body is wrought  by means of meat and drink, so under the form of meat and drink the Lord has provided for us spiritual refreshment. And it was suitable that for the shewing forth the Lord’s Passion this Sacrament should be instituted under both kinds.

For in His Passion He shed His Blood, and so His Blood was separated from His Body. It behoved therefore, that for representation of His Passion, bread and wine should be separately set forth, which are the Sacrament of the Body and Blood. But it should be known, that under both kinds the whole of Christ is contained; under the bread is contained the Blood, together with the Body; under the wine, the Body together With the Blood.

Ambrosiaster, in 1 Cor 11:26 : And for this reason also in do we celebrate under both kinds, because that which we receive avails for the preservation of both body and soul.

Cyprian, Ep. 63, ad Caecil.: The cup of the Lord is not water only, or wine only, but the two are mixed; so the Lord’s Body cannot be either flour only, or water only, but the two are combined.

[ed. note: To signify, as S. Cyprian proceeds to say, the union between Christ and His faithful people; “For if one offer wine only, the blood of Christ begins to be without us; if water only, the people begin to be without Christ.” This passage of Cyprian is quoted in Gratian. de Cons ii. 7.]

Ambrose, de Sacr., v. 1: If Melchisedech offered bread and wine, what means this mixing of water? Hear the reason. Moses struck the rock, and the rock gave forth abundance of water, but that rock was Christ. Also one of the soldiers with his spear pierced Christ’s side, and out of His side flowed water and blood, the water to cleanse, the blood to redeem.

[ed. note: ap. Gratian de Cons. d ii, 83, cf. Paschas de Corp. et Sang. 11]

Remig.: For it should be known, that as John speaks, “The many waters are nations and people.” [Rev 17:15] And because we ought always to abide in Christ and Christ in us, wine mixed with water is offered, to shew that the bead and the members, that is, Christ and the Church, are one body; or to shew that neither did Christ suffer without a love for our redemption, nor we can be saved without His Passion.

Chrys.: And having spoken of His Passion and Cross, He proceeds to speak of His resurrection, “I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth, &c.” By the “kingdom” He means His resurrection. And He speaks this of His resurrection, because He would then drink with the Apostles, that none might suppose His  resurrection a phantasy.

Thus when they would convince any of His resurrection, they said, “We did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.” [Acts 10:41] This tells them that they shall see Him after He is risen, and that He will be again with them.

That He says, “New,” is plainly to be understood, after a new manner, He no longer having a passible body, or needing food. For after His resurrection He did not eat as needing food, but to evidence the reality of the resurrection. And forasmuch as there are some heretics who use water instead of wine in the sacred mysteries [ed. note: e.g. The Encratites, followers of Saturnius and Tatian in the second century. See Can. Apost. 43 and 45 of Johnson’s Translation.], He shews in these words, that when He now gave them these holy mysteries, He gave them wine, and drank the like after He was risen; for He says, “Of this fruit of the vine,” but the vine produces wine, and not water.

Jerome: Or otherwise; From carnal things the Lord passes to spiritual. Holy Scripture speaks of the people of Israel as of a vine brought up out of Egypt; [marg. note: Ps 80:8, Jer 2:21] of this vine it is then that the Lord says He will drink no more except in His Father’s kingdom. His Father’s kingdom I suppose to mean the faith of the believers. When then the Jews shall receive His Father’s kingdom, then the Lord will drink of their vine. Observe that He says, “Of my Father,” not, Of God, for to name the Father is to name the Son. As much as to say, When they shall have believed on God the Father, and He has brought them to the Son.

Remig.: Or otherwise; “I will not drink of the fruit of this vine,” i.e. I will no longer take pleasure in the carnal oblations of the Synagogue, among which the immolation of the Paschal lamb held an eminent place. But the time of My resurrection is at hand, and the day in which exalted in the Father’s kingdom, that is, raised in immortal glory, “I shall drink it new with you,” i.e. I shall rejoice as with a new joy in the salvation of that people then renewed by the water of baptism.

Aug., Quaest. Ev. i, 43: Or otherwise; When He says, “I shall drink it new with you,” He gives us to understand that this is old. Seeing then that He took body of the race of Adam, who is called the old man, and was to give up to death that Body in His Passion, (whence also He gave us His Blood in the sacrament of wine,) what else can we understand by the new wine than the immortality of renewed bodies?

In saying, “I will drink it with you,” He promises to them likewise a resurrection of their bodies for the putting on of immortality. “With you” is not to be understood of time, but of a like renewal, as the Apostle speaks, that “we are risen with Christ,” the hope of the future bringing a present joy. That which He shall drink new shall also be “of this fruit of the vine,” signifies that the very same bodies shall rise after the heavenly renewal, which shall now die after the earthly decay.

Hilary: It seems from this that Judas had not drunk with Him, because He was not to drink hereafter in the kingdom; but He promises to all who partook at this time of this fruit of the vine that they should drink with Him hereafter.

Gloss., non occ.: But in support of the opinion of other saints, that Judas did receive the sacraments from Christ, it is to be said, that the words “with you” may refer to the greater part of them, and not necessarily to the whole.

Ver  30. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.31. Then saith Jesus unto them, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.32. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.”33. Peter answered and said unto him, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”34. Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.”35. Peter said unto him, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” Likewise also said all the disciples.

Origen: When the disciples had eaten the bread of blessing, and drunk of the cup of thanksgiving, the Lord instructs them in return for these things to sing a hymn to the Father. And they go to the Mount of Olives, that they may pass from height to height, because the believer can do nought in the valley.

[ed. note: The passages (Bede and Rabanus, below, and more further on) between the brackets are not found in the earlier Editions of the Catena, in the ED. PR. nor the Bodl. MS. They appear to have been inserted by Nicolai.]

[Bede, in Luc., 22, 39: Beautifully after the disciples have been filled with the Sacraments of His Body and Blood, and commended to the Father in a hymn of pious intercession, does He lead them into the mount of Olives; thus by type teaching us how we ought, by the working of His Sacraments, and the aid of His intercession, mount up to the higher gifts of the virtues and the graces of the Holy Spirit, with which we are anointed in our hearts.

Raban.: This hymn may be that thanksgiving which in John, Our Lord offers up to the Father, when He lifted up His eyes and prayed for His disciples, and those who should believe through their word. This is that of which the Psalm speaks, “The poor shall eat and be filled, they shall praise the Lord.” Ps 22:26]

Chrys.: Let them hear this, who like swine with no thought but of eating rise from the table drunk, when they should have given thanks, and closed with a hymn. Let them hear who will not tarry for the final prayer in the sacred mysteries; for the last prayer of the mysteries represents that hymn. He gave thanks before He delivered the holy mysteries to the disciples, that we also might give thanks; He sung a hymn after He had delivered them, that we also should do the like.

Jerome: After this example of the Saviour, whosoever is filled and is drunken upon the bread and cup of Christ, may praise God and ascend the Mount of Olives, where is refreshment after toil, solace of grief, and knowledge of the true light.

Hilary: Hereby He shews that men confirmed by the powers of the Divine mysteries, are exalted to heavenly glory in a common joy and gladness.

Origen: Suitably also was the mount of mercy chosen whence to declare the offence of His disciples’ weakness, by One even then prepared not to reject the disciples who forsook Him, but to receive them when they returned to Him.

Jerome:  He foretels what they should suffer, that they might not after it had befallen them despair of salvation; but doing penitence might be set free.

Chrys.: In this we see what the disciples were both before and after the cross. They who could not stand with Christ whilst He was crucified, became after the death of Christ harder than adamant. This flight and fear of the disciples is a demonstration of Christ’s death against those who are infected with the heresy of Marcion. If He had been neither bound nor crucified, whence arose the terror of Peter and the rest?

Jerome: And He adds emphatically, “this night,” because as “they that are drunken are drunken by night,” [1 Thess. 5:7] so they that are scandalized are scandalized by night, and in the dark.

Hilary: The credit of this prediction is supported by the authority of old prophecy; “It is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”

Jerome: This is found in Zacharias in words different; it is said to God in the person of the Prophet, “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered abroad.” [Zech 13:7] The good Shepherd is smitten, that He may lay down His life for His sheep, and that of many flocks of divers errors should be made one flock, and one Shepherd.

Chrys.: He produces this prophecy to teach them to attend to the things that are written, and to shew that His crucifixion was according to the counsel of God, and (as He does throughout) that He was not a stranger to the Old Testament, but that it prophesied of Him.

But He did not suffer them to continue in sorrow, but announces glad tidings, saying, “When I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” After His resurrection He does not appear to them immediately from heaven, nor depart into any far country, but in the very same nation in which He was crucified, almost in the very place, giving them thereby assurance, that He who was crucified was the same as He who rose again, thereby to cheer their cast-down countenances. He fixes upon Galilee, that, being delivered from fear of the Jews, they might believe what He spoke to them.

Origen: Also He foretels this to them, that they who now were somewhat dispersed in consequence of the offence, should be after gathered together by Christ rising again, and going before them into Galilee of the Gentiles.

Hilary: But Peter was carried so far by his zeal and affection for Christ, that he regarded neither the weakness of his flesh nor the truth of the Lord’s words; as if what He spake must not come to pass, “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”

Chrys.: What sayest thou, Peter? The Prophet says, “The sheep shall be scattered abroad,” and Christ has confirmed it, yet thou sayest, Never. When He said, “One of you shall betray me,” thou fearedst for thyself, although thou wert not conscious of such a thought; now when He openly affirms, “All ye shall be offended,” you deny it. But because when he was relieved of the anxiety he had concerning the betrayal, he grew confident concerning the rest, he therefore says thus, “I will never be offended.”Jerome: It is not wilfulness, not falsehood, but the Apostle’s faith, and ardent attachment towards the Lord his Saviour.

Remig.: What the One affirms by His power of foreknowledge, the other denies through love; whence we may take a practical lesson, that in proportion as we are confident of the warmth of our faith, we should be in fear of the weakness of our flesh. Peter seems culpable, first, because he contradicted the Lord’s words; secondly, because he set himself before the rest; and thirdly, because he attributed every thing to himself as though he had power to persevere strenuously. His fall then was permitted to heal this in him; not that be was driven to deny, but left to himself, and so convinced of the frailty of his human nature. [ed. note: Remigius has borrowed this from S. Chrysostom, in loc.]

Origen: Whence the other disciples were offended in Jesus, but Peter was not only offended, but what is much more, was suffered to deny Him thrice.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: Perplexity may be occasioned to some by the great difference, not in words only, but in substance, of the speeches in which Peter is forewarned by Our Lord, and which occasion his presumptuous declaration of dying with or for the Lord. Some would oblige us to understand that he thrice expressed his confidence, and the Lord thrice answered him that he would deny Him thrice before cock-crowing; as after His resurrection He thrice asked him if he loved Him, and as often gave him command to feed His sheep.

For what in language or matter has Matthew like the expressions of Peter in either Luke or John? Mark indeed relates it in nearly the same words as Matthew, only marking more precisely in the Lord’s words the manner in which it should fall in, “Verily, I say unto thee, that this day, in the night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” [Mark 14:30]

Whence some inattentive persons think that there is a discrepancy between Mark and the rest. For the sum of Peter’s denials is three; if the first then had been after the first cock-crowing, the other three Evangelists must be wrong when they make the Lord say that Peter should deny Him before the cock crow. But, on the other hand, if be had made all three denials before the cock began to crow, it would be superfluous in Mark to say, “Before the cock crow twice.” Forasmuch as this threefold denial was begun before the first cock-crow, the three Evangelists have marked, not when it was to be concluded, but how often it was to happen, and when to begin, that is, before cock-crow.

Though indeed if we understand it of Peter’s heart we may well say, that the whole denial was complete before the first cock-crow, seeing that before that his mind was seized with that great fear which wrought upon him to the third denial. Much less therefore ought it to disquiet us, how the three-fold denial in three distinct speeches was begun, but not finished before cock-crow. Just as though one should say, Before cock-crow you will write me a letter, in which you will revile me three times; if the letter were begun before any cock-crow, but not finished till after the first, we should not therefore say that the prediction was false.

Origen: But you will ask, whether it were possible that Peter should not have been offended, when once the Saviour had said, “All ye shalt be offended in me.” To which one will answer, what is foretold by Jesus must of necessity come to pass; and another will say, that He who at the prayer of Ninevites turned away the wrath He had denounced by Jonas, might also have averted Peter’s offence at his entreaty. But his presumptuous confidence, prompted by zeal indeed but not a cautious zeal, became the cause not only of offence but of a thrice repeated denial. And since He confirmed it with the sanction of an oath, some one will say that it was not possible that he should not have denied Him. For Christ would have  spoken falsely when he, said, “Verily I say unto thee,” if Peter’s assertion, “I will not deny thee,” had been true.

It seems to me that the other disciples having in view not that which was first said, “All ye shall be offended,” but that which was said to Peter, “Verily I say unto thee, &c.” made a like promise with Peter because they were not comprehended in the prophecy of denial. “Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.”

Here again Peter knows not what he says; he could not die with Him who was to die for all mankind, who were all in sin, and had need of some one to die for them, not that they should die for others.

Raban.: Peter understood the Lord to have foretold that he should deny Him under terror of death, and therefore he declares that though death were imminent, nothing could shake him from his faith; and the other Apostles in like manner in the warmth of their zeal, valued not the infliction of death, but human presumption is vain without Divine aid.

Chrys.: [I suppose also that Peter fell into these words through ambition and boastfulness. And they had disputed at supper which of them should be greatest, whence we see that the love of empty glory disturbed them much. And so to deliver him from such passions, Christ withdrew His aid from him. Moreover observe how after the resurrection, taught by his fall, he speaks to Christ more humbly, and does not any more resist His words. All this his fall wrought for him; for before he had attributed all to himself, when he ought rather to have said, I will not deny Thee if Thou succour me with Thy aid. But afterwards he shews that every thing is to be ascribed to God, “Why look ye so earnestly upon us, as though by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk?” [Acts 3:12] ]

Hence then we learn the great doctrine, that man’s wish is not enough, unless he enjoys Divine support.

Ver  36. Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.37. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.38. Then saith he unto them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”

Remig.: The Evangelist had said a little above, that “when they had sung an hymn they went out to the mount of Olives;” to point out the part of the mount to which they took their way, he now adds, “Then came Jesus with them to a garden called Gethsemane.”

Raban.: Luke says, “To the mount of Olives,” [Luke 22:39] and John, “Went forth over the brook Cedron, where was a garden,” [John 18:1] which is the same as this Gethsemane, and is a place where He prayed at the foot of mount Olivet, where is a garden, and a Church now built. [ed. note: This is probably from Areulfus’ account in Adamnantus de Locis Sanctis, c. 23 (ap. Act. Benedict. iv 502) as he quoted him by name, above, p. 95]

Jerome: Gethsemane is interpreted, ‘The rich valley;’ and there He bade His disciples sit a little while, and wait His return whilst He prayed alone for all.

Origen: For it was not fitting that He should be seized in the place where He had sate and eaten the Passover with His disciples. Also He must first pray, and choose a place pure for prayer.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxiii: He says, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder,” because the disciples adhered inseparably to Christ; but it was His practice to pray apart from them, therein teaching us to study quiet and retirement for our prayers.

Damascenus, de Fid. Orth., iii, 24: But seeing that prayer is the sending up the understanding to God, or the asking of God things fitting, how did the Lord pray? For His understanding needed not to be lifted up to God, having been once united hypostatically to God the Word. Neither could He need to ask of God things fitting, for the One Christ is both God and Man. But giving in Himself a pattern to us, He taught us to ask of God, and to lift up our minds to Him. As He took on Him our passions, that by triumphing over them Himself, He might give us also the victory over them, so now He prays  to open to us the way to that lifting up to God, to fulfil for us all righteousness, to reconcile His Father to us, to pay honour to Him as the First Cause, and to shew that He is not against God.

Raban.: When the Lord prayed in the mountain, He taught us to make supplication for heavenly things; when He prays in the garden, He teaches us to study humility in our prayer. And beautifully, as He draws near His Passion, does He pray in the ‘valley of fatness’ shewing that through the valley of humility, and the richness of charity, He took upon Him death for our sakes.

The practical instruction which we may also learn from this is, that we should not suffer our heart to dry up from the richness of charity.

Remig.: He had accepted the disciples’ faith and the devotedness of their will, but He foresaw that they would be troubled and scattered abroad, and therefore bade them sit still in their places; for to sit belongs to one at ease, but they would be grievously troubled that they should have denied Him.

In what fashion He went forward it describes, “And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and very heavy;” the same to whom He had shewn His glory in the mount.

Hilary: These words, He began to be sorrowful and very heavy, are interpreted by heretics that fear of death assailed the Son of God, being (as they allege) neither begotten from eternity, nor existing in the Father’s infinite substance, but produced out of nothing by Him who created all things; and that hence He was liable to anguish of grief, and fear of death. And He who can fear death can also die; and He who can die, though He shall exist after death, yet is not eternal through Him who begot Him in past time.

Had these faith to receive the Gospels, they would know that the Word was in the beginning God, and from the beginning with God, and that the eternity of Him who begets and Him who is begotten is one and the same. But if the assumption of flesh infected with its natural infirmity the virtue of that incorruptible substance, so that it became subject to pain, and shrinking from death, it would also become thereby liable to corruption, and thus its immortality being changed into fear, that which is in it is capable of at some time ceasing to be. But God ever is without measure of time, and such as He is, He continues to  be eternally. Nothing then in God can die, nor can God have any fear springing out of Himself.

Jerome, Hieron. non. occ: But we say that passible man was so taken by God the Son, that His Deity remained impassible. Indeed the Son of God suffered, not by imputation but actually, all that Scripture testifies, in respect of that part of Him which could suffer, viz. in respect of the substance that He had taken on Him.

Hilary, de Trin., x, 10: I suppose that there are some who offer here no other cause of His fear than His passion and death. I ask those who think thus, whether it stands with reason that He should have feared to die, who banished from the Apostles all fear of death, and exhorted them to the glory of martyrdom?

How can we suppose Him to have felt pain and grief in the sacrament of death, who rewards with life those who die for Him? And what pangs of death could He fear, who came to death of the free choice of His own power? And if His Passion was to do Him honour, how could the fear of His Passion make Him sorrowful?

Hilary, in loc.: Since then we read that the Lord was sorrowful, let us discover the causes of His agony. He had forewarned them all that they would be offended, and Peter that he would thrice deny his Lord; and taking him and James and John, He began to be sorrowful. Therefore He was not sorrowful till He took them, but all His fear began after He had taken them; so that His agony was not for Himself, but for them whom He had taken.

Jerome: The Lord therefore sorrowed not from fear of suffering, for for this cause He had come that He should suffer, and had rebuked Peter for his fearfulness; [marg. note: Matt 14:40] but for the wretched Judas, for the offence of the rest of the Apostles, for the rejection and reprobation of the Jewish nation, and the overthrow of unhappy Jerusalem.

Damas., Fid. Orth., iii, 23: Or otherwise; All things which have not yet been brought into existence by their Maker have a natural desire of existence, and naturally shun non-existence. God the Word then, having been made Man, had this desire, through which He desired food, drink, and sleep, by which life is supported, and naturally used them, and contrariwise shunned the things that are destructive of life. Hence in the season of His Passion which He endured voluntarily, He had the natural fear and sorrow for death. For there is a natural fear wherewith the soul shrinks  from separation from the body, by reason of that close sympathy implanted from the first by the Maker of all things.

Jerome: Our Lord therefore sorrowed to prove the reality of the Man which He had taken upon Him; but that passion might bear no sway in His mind, “He began to be sorrowful” by pro-passion [ed. note: see ch. 5, page 185]; for it is one thing to be sorrowful, and another to be very sorrowful.

Remig.: By this place are overthrown the Manichaeans, who said that He took an unreal body; and those also who said that He had not a real soul, but His Divinity in place of a soul. [marg. note: e.g. Apollinaris]

Aug., Lib. 83 Quaest. Q80: We have the narratives of the Evangelists, by which we know that Christ was both born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was seized by the Jews, scourged, crucified, put to death, and buried in a tomb, all which cannot be supposed to have taken place without a body, and not even the maddest will say that these things are to be understood figuratively, when they are told by men who wrote what they remembered to have happened.

These then are witnesses that He had a body, as those affections which cannot be without mind prove Him to have had a mind, and which we read in the accounts of the same Evangelists, that Jesus wondered, was angry, was sorrowful.

Aug., City of God, book xiv, ch. 9: Since then these things are related in the Evangelists, they are not surely false, but as when He willed He became Man, so likewise when He willed He took into His human soul these passions for the sake of adding assurance to the dispensation. We indeed have these passions by reason of the weakness of our human nature; not so the Lord Jesus, whose weakness was of power.

Damas., Fid. Orth., iii, 20: Wherefore the passions of our nature were in Christ both by nature and beyond nature. By nature, because He left His flesh to suffer the things incidental to it; beyond nature, because these natural emotions did not in Him precede the will. For in Christ nothing befel of compulsion, but all was voluntary; with His will He hungered, with His will He feared, or was sorrowful.

Here His sorrow is declared, “Then saith he unto them, My soul is sorrowful even unto death.”

Ambrose, in Luc. 23, 43: He is sorrowful, yet not Himself, but His soul; not His Wisdom, not His divine Substance, but His soul, for He took upon Him  my soul, and my body.

Jerome: He is sorrowful not because of death, but “unto death,” until He has set the Apostles free by His Passion. Let those who imagine Jesus to have taken an irrational soul, say how it is that He is thus sorrowful, and knows the season of His sorrow, for though the brute animals have sorrow, yet they know neither the causes of it, nor the time for which it must endure.

Origen: Or otherwise; “My soul is sorrowful even unto death;” as much as to say, Sorrow is begun in me, but not to endure for ever, but only till the hour of death; that when I shall die for sin, I shall die also to all sorrow, whose beginnings only are in me. “Tarry ye here, and watch with me;” as much as to say, The rest I bade sit yonder as weak, removing them from this struggle; but you I have brought hither as being stronger, that ye may toil with me in watching and prayer. But abide you here, that every man may stay in his own rank and station; since all grace, however great, has its superior.

Jerome: Or the sleep which He would have them forego is not bodily rest, for which at this critical time there was no room, but mental torpor, the sleep of unbelief.

Ver  39. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”40. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?41. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”43. And he came and found them asleep again for their eyes were heavy.44. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Origen: He took with Him the self-confident Peter, and the others, that they might see Him falling on His face and praying, and might learn not to think great things, but little things of themselves, and not to be hasty in promising, but careful in prayer. And therefore, “He went forward a little,” not to go far from them, but that He might be near them in His prayer.

Also, He who had said above, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart,” now commendably humbling Himself, falls on His face. But He shews His devotion in His prayer, and as beloved and well-pleasing to His Father, He adds, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt,” teaching us that we should pray, not that our own will, but that God’s will, should be done.

And as He began to have fear and sorrow, He prays accordingly that the cup of His Passion may pass from Him, yet not as He wills, but as His Father wills; wills, that is, not according to His Divine and impassible Substance, but according to His human and weak nature. For in taking upon Him the nature of human flesh, He fulfilled all the properties thereof, that it might be seen that He had flesh not in appearance only, but in reality.

The believer indeed must in the first instance be loth to incur pain, seeing it leads to death, and he is a man of flesh; but if it be God’s will, he acquiesces because he is a believer. For as we ought not to be too confident that we may not seem to make a boast of our own strength; so neither ought we to be distrustful, lest we should seem to charge God our helper with weakness.

It is to be observed that Mark and Luke write the same, but John does not introduce this prayer of Jesus’, that this cup may pass from Him, because the first three are rather occupied about Him, according to His human nature, John according to His divine.  Otherwise; Jesus makes this petition, because He sees what the Jews will suffer for requiring His death.

Jerome: Whence He says emphatically, “This cup,” that is, of this people of the Jews, who, if they shall put Me to death, can have no excuse for their ignorance, seeing they have the Law and the Prophets, who speak of Me.

Origen: Then again considering the benefit that would accrue to the whole world from His Passion, He says, “But not as I will, but as thou wilt;” i.e. If it be possible for all these benefits which shall result from My Passion to be procured without it, let it pass from Me, and both the world be saved, and the Jews not be condemned in putting Me to death.

But if the salvation of many cannot be procured without the destruction of a few, saving Thy justice, let it not pass away. Scripture, in many places, speaks of passion as a cup that is drained; and it is drained by him, who in testimony suffers whatever is inflicted upon him. He sheds it, on the contrary, who denies in order to avoid suffering.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: And that none might think that He limited His Father’s power, He said not, “If thou canst do it,” but “If it may be,” or, “If it be possible;” as much as to say, If thou wilt. For whatever God wills can be done, as Luke expresses more plainly; for he says not, “If it be possible,” but “If thou wilt.”

Hilary: Otherwise; He says not, Let this cup pass away from Me, for that would be the speech of one who feared it; but He prays that it may pass not so as that He should be passed over, but that when it has passed from Him, it may go to another. His whole fear then is for those who were to suffer, and therefore He prays for those who were to suffer after Him, saying, “Let this cup pass from me,” i.e. as it is drunk by Me, so let it be drunk by these, without mistrust, without sense of pain, without fear of death. He says, “If it be possible,” because flesh and blood shrink from these things, and it is hard for human bodies not to sink beneath their infliction. That He says, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt,” He would fain indeed that they should not suffer, lest their faith should fail in their sufferings, if indeed we might attain to the glory of our joint inheritance with Him without the hardship of sharing in His Passion.

He says, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt,” because it is the Father’s will that strength to drink of the cup should pass from Him to them, that the Devil might be vanquished not so much by Christ as by His disciples also.

Aug., in Ps. 32, enar. 2: Christ thus as man shews a certain private human will, in which He who is our head figures both His own will and ours when He says, “Let it pass from me.” For this was His human will choosing something as apart for Himself. But because as man He would be righteous and guide Himself by God’s will, He adds, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt;” as much as to say to us, Man, behold thyself in Me, that thou canst will somewhat apart of thyself, and though God’s will is other, this is permitted to human frailty.

Leo, Serm., 58, 5: This speech of the Head is the health of the whole body, this saying is instruction to the faithful, animates the confessor, crowns the martyr. For who could vanquish the hatred of the world, or the whirlwind of temptations, or the terrors of the persecutors, if Christ did not in all and for all say to the Father, “Thy will be done.”

Let all the sons of the Church then utter this prayer, that when the pressure of some mighty temptation lies upon them, they may embrace endurance of the suffering, disregarding its terrors.

Origen: And though Jesus went but a “little forward,” they could not watch one hour in His absence; let us therefore pray that Jesus may never depart even a little from us.

Chrys.: He “finds them sleeping,” both because it was a late hour of the night, and their eyes were heavy with sorrow.

Hilary: When then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping, He rebukes Peter, “Could ye not watch one hour with me?” He addresses Peter rather than the rest, because be had most loudly boasted that he would not be offended.

Chrys.: But as they had all said the same, He charges them all with weakness; they had chosen to die with Christ, and yet could not even watch with Him.

Origen: Finding them thus sleeping, He rouses them with a word to hearken, and commands them to watch; “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation;” that first we should watch, and so watching pray. He watches who does good works, and is careful that He does not run into any dark doctrine, for so the prayer of the watchful is heard.

Jerome: It is impossible that the human mind should not be tempted, therefore He says not “Watch and pray” that ye be not tempted, but “that ye enter not into temptation,” that is, that temptation vanquish you not.

Hilary: And why He thus encouraged them to pray that they might not enter into temptation, He adds, “For the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak;” this He says not of Himself, but addresses them.

Jerome: This is against those rash persons who think that whatever they believe they can perform. The more confident we are of our zeal, the more mistrustful should we be of the frailty of the flesh.

Origen: Here it should be enquired, whether as all men’s flesh is weak, so all men’s spirit is willing, or whether only that of the saints; and whether in unbelievers the spirit is not also dull, as the flesh is weak. In another sense the flesh of those only is weak whose spirit is willing, and who with their willing spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh. These then He would have watch and pray that they should not enter into temptation, for the more spiritual any one may be, the more careful should he be that his goodness should not suffer a great fall.

Remig.: Otherwise; In these words He shews that He took real flesh of the Virgin, and had a real soul, saying that His spirit is willing to suffer, but His flesh weak in fearing the pain of Passion.

Origen: There were, I conclude, two ways in which this cup of Passion might pass from the Lord. If He should drink it, it would pass away from Him, and afterwards from the whole race of mankind also; if He should not drink it, it would perhaps pass from Him, but from men it would not pass. He would fain therefore that it should so pass from Him as that He should not at all taste its bitterness, yet only if it were possible, saving the righteousness of God. If it were not possible, He was rather willing to drink it, that so it might pass from Him, and from the whole race of mankind rather than against His Father’s will shun the drinking thereof.

Chrys.: That He prays for this a second and a third time, comes of the feelings belonging to human frailty, through which also He feared death, thus giving assurance that He was truly made man. For in Scripture when any thing is repeated a second and third time, that is the greatest proof of its truth and reality; as, for example, when Joseph says to Pharaoh, “And for that thou sawedst it twice, it is proof of the thing being established by God.” [Gen 41:32]

Jerome: Or otherwise; He prays a second time that if Nineveh, or the Gentile world, cannot be saved unless the gourd, i.e. the Jews, be withered, His Father’s will may be done, which is not contrary to the Son’s will, who Himself speaks by the Prophet, “I am content to do thy will, 0 God.” [Ps 40:8]

Hilary: Otherwise, He bare in His own body all the infirmities of us His disciples who should suffer, and nailed to His cross all wherein we are distressed; and therefore that cup cannot pass from Him, unless He drink it, because we cannot suffer, except by His passion.

Jerome: Christ singly prays for all,as He singly suffers for all. “Their eyes were heavy,” i.e. an oppression and stupefaction came on as their denial drew near.

Origen: And I suppose that the eyes of their body were not so much affected as the eyes of their mind, because the Spirit was not yet given them. Wherefore He does not rebuke them, but goes again and prays, teaching us that we should not faint but should persevere in prayer, until we obtain what we have begun to ask.

Jerome: He prayed the third time, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word might be established.

Raban: Or, The Lord prayed thrice, to teach us to pray for pardon of sins past, defence against present evil, and provision against future perils, and that we should address every prayer to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that our spirit, soul, and body should be kept in safety.

Aug., Quaest Ev., i, 47: Nor is that an absurd interpretation which makes Our Lord pray thrice because of the threefold temptation of His Passion. To the temptation of curiosity is opposed the fear of death; for as the one is a yearning for the knowledge of things, so the other is the fear of losing such knowledge. To the desire of honour or applause is opposed the dread of disgrace and insult. To the desire of pleasure is opposed the fear of pain.

Remig.: Or, He prays thrice for the Apostles, and for Peter in particular, who was to deny Him thrice.

Ver  45. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.46. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

Hilary: After His persevering prayer, after His departures and several returns, He takes away their fear, restores their confidence, and exhorts them to “sleep on, and take their rest.”

Chrys.: Indeed it behoved them to watch, but He said this to shew that the prospect of coming evils was more than they would bear, that He had no need of their aid, and that it must needs be that He should be delivered up.

Hilary: Or, He bids them “sleep on, and take their rest,” because He now confidently awaited His Father’s will concerning the disciples, concerning which He had said, “Thy will be done,” and in obedience to which He drunk the cup that was to pass from Him to us, diverting upon Himself the weakness of our body, the terrors of dismay, and even the pains of death itself.

Origen: Or, the sleep He now bids His disciples take is of a different sort from that which is related above to have befallen them. Then He found them sleeping, not taking repose, but because their eyes were heavy, but now they are not merely to sleep, but to “take their rest,” that this order may be rightly observed, namely, that we first watch with prayer that we enter not into temptation, and afterwards sleep and take our rest, when having “found a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob,” we may “go up into our bed, and give sleep to our eyes.” [Ps 132:3]

It may be also that the soul, unable to sustain a continual energy by reason of its union with the flesh, may blamelessly admit some relaxations, which may be the moral interpretation of slumbers, and then again after due time be quickened to new energy.

Hilary: And whereas, when He returned and found them sleeping, He rebukes them the first time, the second time says nothing, the third time bids them take their rest; the interpretation of this is, that at the first after His resurrection, when He finds them dispersed, distrustful, and timorous, He rebukes them; the second time, when their eyes were heavy to look upon the liberty of the Gospel, He visited them, sending them the Spirit, the Paraclete; for, held back by attachment to the Law, they slumbered in respect of faith; but the third time, when He shall come in His glory, He shall restore them to quietness and confidence.

Origen: When He had roused them from sleep, seeing in the Spirit Judas drawing near to betray Him, though the disciples could not yet see him, He says, “Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”

Chrys.: The words, “the hour is at hand,” point out that all that has been done was by Divine interference; and that, “into the hands of sinners,” shew that this was the work of their wickedness, not that He was guilty of any crime.

Origen: And even now Jesus “is betrayed into the hands of sinners,” when those who seem to believe in Jesus, continue to sin while they have Him in their hands. Also whenever a righteous man, who has Jesus in Him, is put into the power of sinners, Jesus is delivered into the hands of sinners.

Jerome: Having concluded His third prayer, and having obtained that the Apostles’ terror should be corrected by subsequent penitence, He goes forth undaunted by the prospect of His own Passion to meet His pursuers, and offers Himself voluntarily to be sacrificed.

“Arise, let us be going;” as much as to say, Let them not find you trembling, let us go forth willingly to death, that they may see us confident and rejoicing in suffering; “Lo, he that shall betray me draweth near.”

Origen: He says not, Draws near to thee, for indeed the traitor was not near Him, but had removed himself far off through his sins.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 4: This speech as Matthew has it seems self-contradictory. For how could He say, “Sleep on, and take your rest,” and immediately continue, “Rise, let us be going.” This contradiction some have endeavoured to reconcile by supposing the words, “Sleep on, and take your rest,” to be an ironical rebuke, and not a permission; it might be rightly so taken if need were. But as Mark records it, when He had said, “Sleep on, and take your rest,” He added, “it is enough,” and then continued, “The hour is come, behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners;” [Mark 14:41] we clearly understand the Lord to have been silent some time after He had said, “Sleep on,” to allow of their doing so, and then after some interval to have roused them with, “Behold, the hour is at hand.” And as Mark fills up the sense with, “it is enough,” that is, ye have had rest enough.

Ver  47. And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the Chief Priests and elders of the people.48. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.”49. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, “Hail, Master;” and kissed him.50. And Jesus said unto him, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

Gloss., non occ.: Having said above that the Lord offered Himself of His own accord to His pursuers, the Evangelist proceeds to relate how He was seized by them.

Remig.: “One of the twelve,” by association of name, not of desert. This shews the monstrous wickedness of the man who from the dignity of the Apostleship became the traitor. To shew that it was out of envy that they seized Him, it is added, “A great multitude sent by the Chief Priests and elders of the people.”

Origen: Some may say that a great multitude came, because of the great multitude of those who already believed, who, they feared, might rescue Him out of their hands; but I think there is another reason for this, and that is, that they who thought that He cast out daemons through Beelzebub, supposed that by some magic He might escape the hands of those who sought to hold Him. Even now do many fight against Jesus with spiritual weapons, to wit, with divers and shifting dogmas concerning God.

It deserves enquiry why, when He was known by face to all who dwelt in Judaea, he should have given them a sign, as though they were unacquainted with His person. But a tradition to this effect has come down to us, that not only had He two different forms, one under which He appeared to men, the other into which He was transfigured before His disciples in the mount, but also that He appeared to each man in such degree as the beholder was worthy; in like manner as we read of the manna, that it had a flavour adapted to every variety of use, and as the word of God shews not alike to all. They   required therefore a sign by reason of this His transfiguration.

Chrys.: Or, because whenever they had hitherto attempted to seize Him, He had escaped them they knew not how; as also He might then have done had He been so minded.

Raban.: The Lord suffered the traitor’s kiss, not to teach us to dissemble, but that He might not seem to shrink from His betrayal.

Origen: If it be asked why Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, according to some it was because He desired to keep up the reverence due to his Master, and did not dare to make an open assault upon Him; according to others, it was out of fear that if he came as an avowed enemy, be might be the cause of His escape, which he believed Jesus had it in His power to effect.

But I think that all betrayers of truth love to assume the guise of truth, and to use the sign of a kiss. Like Judas also, all heretics call Jesus Rabbi, and receive from Him mild answer.

“And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?” He says, “Friend,” upbraiding his hypocrisy; for in Scripture we never find this term of address used to any of the good, but as above, “Friend, how camest thou in hither?” [Matt 22:12] and, “Friend, I do thee no wrong.” [Matt 20:13]

Aug., non occ.: He says, “Wherefore art thou come?” as much as to say, Thy kiss is a snare for Me; I know wherefore thou art come; thou feignest thyself My friend, being indeed My betrayer.

Remig.: Or, after “Friend, for what thou art come,” that do, is understood. “Then came they, and laid their hands on Jesus, and held him.”

“Then,” that is, when He suffered them, for ofttimes they would have done it, but were not able.

Pseudo-Aug., Serm. de Symb. ad Catech. 6: Exult, Christian, you have gained by this bargain of your enemies; what Judas sold, and what the Jews bought, belongs to you.

Ver  51. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the High Priest’s, and smote off his ear.52. Then said Jesus unto him, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.53. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?54. But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”

Chrys., Hom. lxxxiv: So Luke relates, the Lord had said to His disciples at supper, “He that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one;” [Luke 22:36] and the disciples answered, “Lo, here are two swords.”

It was natural that there should be swords there for the paschal lamb which they had been eating. Hearing then that the pursuers were coming to apprehend Christ, when they went out from supper they took these swords, as though to fight in defence of their Master against His pursuers.

Jerome: In another Gospel [marg. note: John 18:19], Peter is represented as having done this, and with his usual hastiness; and that the servant’s name was Malchus, and that the ear was the right ear. In passing we may say, that Malchus, i.e. one who should have been king of the Jews, was made the slave of the ungodliness and the greediness of the Priests, and lost his right ear so that he might hear only the worthlessness of the letter in his left.

Origen: For though they seem even now to hear the Law, yet is it only with the left ear that they hear the shadow of a tradition concerning the Law, and not the truth. The people of the Gentiles is signified by Peter; for by believing in Christ, they become the cause of cutting off the Jews’ right ear.

Raban.: Or, Peter does not take away the sense of understanding from them that hear, but opens to the careless that which by a divine sentence was taken away from them; but this same right ear is restored to its original function in those who out of this nation believed.

Hilary: Otherwise; The ear of the High Priest’s servant is cut off by the Apostle, that is, Christ’s disciple cuts off the disobedient hearing of a people which were the slaves of the Priesthood, the ear which had refused to hear is cut off so that it is no longer capable of hearing.

Leo, Serm. 22: The Lord of the zealous Apostle will not suffer his pious feeling to proceed further, “Then saith Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place.” For it was contrary to the sacrament of our redemption that He, who had come to die for all, should refuse to be apprehended. He gives therefore licence to their fury against Him, lest by putting off the triumph of His glorious Cross, the dominion of the Devil should be made longer, and the captivity of men more enduring.

Raban.: It behoved also that the Author of grace should teach the faithful patience by His own example, and should rather train them to endure adversity with fortitude, than incite them to self-defence.

Chrys.: To move the disciple to this, He adds a threat, saying, “All they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword.”

Aug., cont. Faust., xxii, 70: That is, every one who uses the sword. And he uses the sword, who, without the command or sanction of any superior, or legitimate authority, arms himself against man’s life. For truly the Lord had given commandment to His disciples to take the sword, but not to smite with the sword. Was it then at all unbeseeming that Peter after this sin should become ruler of the Church, as Moses after smiting the Egyptian was made ruler and chief of the Synagogue? For both transgressed the rule not through hardened ferocity, but through a warmth of spirit capable of good; both through hatred of the injustice of others; both sinned through love, the one for his brother, the other for his Lord, though a carnal love.

Hilary: But all who use the sword do not perish by the sword; of those who have used the sword either judicially, or in self-defence against robbers, fever or accident carries off the greater part. Though if according to this every one who uses the sword shall perish by the sword, justly was the sword now drawn against those who were using the same for the promotion of crime.

Jerome: With what sword then shall he perish, that takes the sword? By that fiery sword which waves before the gate of paradise, and that sword of the Spirit which is described in the armour of God.

Hilary: The Lord then bids him return his sword into its sheath, because He would destroy them by no weapon of man, but by the sword of His mouth.

Remig.: Otherwise; Every one who uses the sword to put man to death perishes first by the sword of his own wickedness.

Chrys.: He not only soothed His disciples, by this declaration of punishment against His enemies, but convinced them that it was voluntarily that He suffered, “Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to my Father, &c.” Because He had shewn many qualities of human infirmity, He would have seemed to say what was incredible, if He had said that He had power to destroy them, therefore He says, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father?”

Jerome: That is to say, I need not the aid of the Apostles, though all the twelve should fight for me, seeing I could have twelve legions of the Angelic army. The complement of a legion among the ancients was six thousand men; twelve legions then are seventy-two thousand Angels, being as many as the divisions of the human race and language.

[ed. note: It was generally supposed that in the dispersion at Babel, mankind was divided into seventy-two nations, each speaking a different language. For that is the number of the heads of families enumerated in the genealogy, in Gen. xi. See Aug. de Civ. Dei, xvi. 6.]

Origen: This shews that the armies of heaven have divisions into legions like earthly armies, in the warfare of the Angels against the legions of the daemons. This He said not as though He needed the aid of the Angels, but speaking in accordance with the supposition of Peter, who sought to give Him assistance. Truly the Angels have more need of the help of the Only-begotten Son of God, than He of theirs.

Remig.: We might also understand by the Angels the Roman armies, for with Titus and Vespasian all languages had risen against Judaea, and that was fulfilled, “The whole world shall fight for him against those foolish men.” [Wisdom 5:21]

Chrys.: And He quiets their fears not thus only, but by reference to Scripture, “How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?”

Jerome: This speech shews a mind willing to suffer; vainly would the Prophets have prophesied truly, unless the Lord asserts their truth by His suffering.

Ver  55. In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, “Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.56. But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.57. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the High Priest, where the Scribes and the elders were assembled.58. But Peter followed him afar off unto the High Priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.

Origen: Having commanded Peter to put up his sword, which was an instance of patience, and having (as another Evangelist writes [marg. note: Luke 22:51]) healed the ear that was cut off, which waS an instance of the greatest mercy, and of Divine power, it now follows, “In that hour said Jesus to the multitudes, (to the end that if they could not remember His past goodness, they might at least confess His present,) Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me?”

Remig.: As much as to say, Robbers assault and study concealment; I have injured no one, but have healed many, and have ever taught in your synagogues.

Jerome: It is folly then to seek with swords and staves Him who offers Himself to your hands, and with a traitor to hunt out, as though lurking under cover of night, one who is daily teaching in the temple.

Chrys.: They did not lay hands on Him in the temple because they feared the multitude, therefore also the Lord went forth that He might give them place and opportunity to take Him. This then teaches them, that if He had not suffered them of His own free choice, they would never have had strength to take Him. Then the Evangelist assigns the reason why the Lord was willing to be taken, adding, “All this was done that the Scriptures of the Prophets might be fulfilled.”

Jerome: “They pierced my hands and my feet;” [Ps 22:16] and in another place, “He is led as a sheep to the slaughter;” and, “By the iniquities of my people was He led to death.” [Isa 53:7-8]

Remig.: For because all the Prophets had foretold Christ’s Passion, he does not cite any particular place, but says generally that the prophecies of all the Prophets were being fulfilled.

Chrys.: The disciples who had remained when the Lord was apprehended, fled when He spoke these things to the multitudes, “Then all the disciples forsook him and fled;” for they then understood that He could not escape but rather gave Himself up voluntarily.

Remig.: In this act is shewn the Apostles’ frailty; in the first ardour of their faith they had promised to die with Him, but in their fear they forgot their promise and fled. The same we may see in those who undertake to do great things for the love of God, but fail to fulfil what they undertake; they ought not to despair, but to rise again with the Apostles, and recover themselves by penitence.

Raban.: Mystically, As Peter, who by tears washed away the sin of his denial, figures the recovery of those who lapse in time of martyrdom; so the flight of the other disciples suggests the precaution of flight to such as feel themselves unfit to endure torments.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 6: “They that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the High Priest.” But He was first taken to Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas, as John relates. And He was taken bound, there being with that multitude a tribune and cohort, as John also records. [John 18:12]

Jerome: But Josephus writes [ed. note: “Josephus (Ant. xviii. 3 and 4,) twice mentions this Caiaphas as the successor of Simon the son of Camithes, but we do not find that he purchased the High Priesthood of Herod.” Vallarsi.], that this Caiaphas had purchased the priesthood of a single year, notwithstanding that Moses, at God’s command, had directed that High Priests should succeed hereditarily, and that in the Priests likewise succession by birth should be followed up. No wonder then that an unrighteous High Priest should judge unrighteously.

Raban.: And the action suits his name; Caiaphas, i.e. ‘contriving,’ or, ‘politic,’ to execute his villainy; or ‘vomiting from his mouth,’ because of his audacity in uttering a lie, and bringing about the murder. They took Jesus thither, that they might do all advisedly; as it follows, “Where the Scribes and the Elders were assembled.”

Origen: Where Caiaphas the High Priest is, there are assembled the Scribes, that is, the men of the letter [marg. note: literati], who preside over the letter that killeth; and Elders, not in truth, but in the obsolete ancientness of the letter.

It follows, “Peter followed Him afar off,” He would neither keep close to Him, nor altogether leave Him, but “followed afar off.”

Chrys.: Great was the zeal of Peter, who fled not when He saw the others fly, but remained, and entered in. For though John also went in, yet he was known to the Chief Priest. He “followed afar off,” because he was about to deny his Lord.

Remig.: For had he kept close to his Lord’s side, he could never have denied Him. This also shews that Peter should follow his Lord’s Passion, that is, imitate it.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 46: And also that the Church should follow, i.e. imitate, the Lord’s Passion, but with great difference. For the Church suffers for itself, but Christ for the Church.

Jerome: He went in, either out of the attachment of a disciple, or natural curiosity, seeking to know what sentence the High Priest would pass, whether death, or scourging.

Ver  59. Now the Chief Priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;60. But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,61. And said, “This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.”62. And the High Priest arose, and said unto him, “Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?”63. But Jesus held his peace. And the High Priest answered and said unto him, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.”64. Jesus saith unto him, “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”65. Then the High Priest rent his clothes, saying, “He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.66. What think ye?” They answered and said, He is guilty of death.67. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,68. Saying, “Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”

Chrys.: When the Chief Priests were thus assembled, this conventicle of ruffians sought to give their conspiracy the character of a legal trial. But it was entirely a scene of confusion and uproar, as what follows shews, “Though many false witnesses came, yet found they none.”

Origen: False witnesses have place when there is any good colour for their testimony. But no pretext was found which could further their falsehoods against Jesus; notwithstanding there were many desirous to do a favour to the Chief Priests. This then is a great testimony in favour of Jesus, that He had lived and taught so irreproachably, that though they were many, and crafty, and wicked, they could find no semblance of fault in Him.

Jerome: “At last came two false witnesses.” How are they false witnesses, when they repeat only what we read that the Lord spoke? A false witness is one who takes what is said in a different sense from that in which it was said. Now this the Lord had spoken of the temple of His Body, and they cavil at His expressions, and by a slight change and addition produce a plausible charge. The Lord’s words were, “Destroy this temple;” [John 2:19] this they make into, I can destroy the Temple of God. He said, “Destroy,” not, I will destroy, because it is unlawful to lay hands on ourselves.

Also they phrased it, “And build it again,” making it apply to the temple of the Jews; but the Lord had said, “And I will raise it up again,” thus clearly pointing out a living and breathing temple. For to build again, and to raise again, are two different things.

Chrys.: Why did they not bring forward now His breaking the Sabbath? Because He had so often confuted them on this point.

Jerome: Headlong and uncontrolled rage, unable to find even a false accusation, moves the High Priest from his throne, the motion of his body shewing the emotion of his mind.

“And the High Priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing to the things which these witness against Thee?”

Chrys.: He said this with a design to draw from Him some indefensible answer which might be made a snare for Him. But “Jesus held his peace,” for defence had availed nothing when none would listen to it. For here was only a mockery of justice, it was in truth nothing more than the anarchy of a den of robbers.

Origen: This place teaches us to contemn the clamours of slanderers and false witnesses, and not to consider those who speak unbeseeming things of us worthy of an answer; but then, above all, when it is greater to be manfully and resolutely silent, than to plead our cause in vain.

Jerome: For as God, He knew that whatever He said would be twisted into an accusation against Him. But at this His silence before false witnesses and ungodly Priests, the High Priest was exasperated, and summons Him to answer, that from any thing He says he may raise a charge against Him.

Origen: Under the Law, we do indeed find many instances of this adjuration; but I judge that a man who would live according to the Gospel should not adjure another; for if we are not permitted to swear, surely not to adjure. [marg. note: Numb 5:19, 1 Ki 22:16]

But he that regards Jesus commanding the daemons, and giving His disciples power over them, will say, that to address the daemons by the power given by the Saviour, is not to adjure them. But the High Priest did sin in laying a snare for Jesus; imitating his father, who twice asked the Saviour, “If thou be Christ the Son of God.” Hence one might rightly say, that to doubt concerning the Son of God, whether Christ be He, is the work of the Devil. It was not fit that the Lord should answer the High Priest’s adjuration as though under compulsion, wherefore He neither denied nor confessed Himself to be the Son of God. For he was not worthy to be the object of Christ’s teaching, therefore He does not instruct him, but taking up his own words retorts them upon him. This sitting of the Son of Man seems to me to denote a certain regal security; by the power of God, Who is the only power, is He securely seated to Whom is given by His Father all power in heaven as in earth.

And there will come a time when the enemies shall see this establishment. Indeed this has begun to be fulfilled from the earliest time of the dispensation; for the disciples saw Him rising from the dead, and thereby saw Him seated on the right band of power.

Or, In respect of that eternity of duration which is with God, from the beginning of the world to the end of it is but one day; it is therefore no wonder that the Saviour here says, “Shortly,” signifying that there is but short time before the end come. He prophesies moreover, that they should not only see Him “sitting at the right hand of power,” but also “coming in the clouds of heaven.” These clouds are the Prophets and Apostles, whom He commands to rain when it is required, they are the clouds that pass not away, but “bearing the image of the heavenly,” [1 Cor 15:49] are worthy to be the throne of God, as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” [Rom 8:17]

Jerome: The same fury which drew the High Priest from his seat, impels him now to rend his clothes; for so it was customary with the Jews to do whenever they heard any blasphemy, or any thing against God.

Chrys.: This He did to give weight to the accusation, and to confirm by deeds what He taught in words.

Jerome: And by this rending his garments, he shews that the Jews have lost the priestly glory, and that their High Priest’s throne was vacant. For by rending his garment he rent the veil of the Law which covered him.

Chrys.: Then, after rending his garment, he did not give sentence of himself, but asked of others, saying, “What think ye?” As was always done in undeniable cases of sin, and manifest blasphemy, and as by force driving them to a certain opinion, he anticipates the answer, “What need we any further witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.”

What was this blasphemy? For before He had interpreted to them as they were gathered together that text, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,” [Matt 22:44] and they had held their peace, and had not contradicted Him. How then do they call what He now says blasphemy? “They answered and said, He is guilty of death,” the same persons at once accusers, examiners, and sentencers.

Origen: How great their error! to pronounce the principle of all men’s life to be guilty of death, and not to acknowledge by  the testimony of the resurrection of so many, the Fount of life, from Whom life flows to all that rise again.

Chrys., Hom. lxxxv: As hunters who have started their game, so they exhibit a wild and drunken exultation.

Jerome: “They spit in his face, and buffeted him,” to fulfil the prophecy of Esaias, “I gave my cheek to the smiters, and turned not away my face from shame and spitting.” [Isa 50:6]

Gloss., ord.: “Prophesy unto us” is said in ridicule of His claim to be held as a Prophet by the people.

Jerome: But it would have been foolish to have answered them that smote Him, and to have declared the smiter, seeing that in their madness they seem to have struck Him openly.

Chrys.: Observe how circumstantially the Evangelist recounts all those particulars even which seem most disgraceful, hiding or extenuating nothing, but thinking it the highest glory that the Lord of the earth should endure such things for us. This let us read continually, let us imprint in our minds, and in these things let us boast.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 44: That, “they did spit in his face,” signifies those who reject His proffered grace. They likewise buffet Him who prefer their own honour to Him; and they smite Him on the face, who, blinded with unbelief, affirm that He is not yet come, disowning and rejecting His person.

Ver  69. Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, “Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.”70. But he denied before them all, saying, “I know not what thou sayest.”71. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, “This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.”72. And again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the man.”73. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, “Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.”74. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying,  “I know not the Man.” And immediately the cock crew.75. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 6: Among the other insults offered to our Lord was the threefold denial of Peter, which the several Evangelists relate in different order. Luke puts Peter’s trial first, and the ill-usage of the Lord after that; Matthew and Mark reverse the order.

Jerome: “Peter sat without,” that he might see the event, and not excite suspicion by any approach to Jesus.

Chrys.: And he, who, when he saw his Master laid hands on, drew his sword and cut off the ear, now when he sees Him enduring such insults becomes a denier, and cannot withstand the taunts of a mean servant girl.

“A damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.”

Raban.: What means this, that a handmaid is the first to tax him, when men would be more likely to recognise him, except that this sex might seem to sin somewhat in the Lord’s death, that they might be redeemed by His passion? “He denied before them all,” because he was afraid to reveal himself; that he said, “I know not,” shews that he was not yet willing to die for the Saviour.

Leo, Serm. 60, 4: For this reason it should seem he was permitted to waver, that the remedy of penitence might be exhibited in the head of the Church, and that none should dare to trust in his own strength, when even the blessed Peter could not escape the danger of frailty.

Chrys.: But not once, but twice and thrice did he deny within a short time.

Aug.: We understand that having gone out after his first denial, the cock crowed the first time as Mark relates.

Chrys.: To shew that the sound did not keep him from denial, nor bring his promise to mind.

Aug.: The second denial was not outside the door, but after he had returned to the fire; for the second maid did not see him after he had gone out, but as he was going out; his getting up to go out drew her attention, and she said to them that were there, that is, to those that were standing round the fire in the hall, “The fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” He who had gone out, having heard this returned, that he might by denial vindicate himself. Or, as is more likely, he did not hear what was said of him as he went out, but it was after he came back that the maid, and the other man whom Luke mentions, said to him, “And thou also art one of them.”

Jerome: “And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.” I know that some out of a feeling of piety towards the Apostle Peter have interpreted this place to signify that Peter denied the Man and not the God, as though he meant, ‘I do not know the Man, because I know the God.’ But the intelligent reader will see that this is trifling, for if he denied not, the Lord spoke falsely when He said, “Thou shalt deny me thrice.”

[ed. note: e.g. S. Ambrose (in Luc.) says, He well denied him as man, for he knew him as God.” And S. Hilary, (in loc.) “Almost without sin did he now deny the man, who had been the first to acknowledge him as Son of God; yet seeing through infirmity of the flesh, he had at least doubted, he therefore wept bitterly when he remembered that he had not been able, even after warning, to avoid the sin of that fearfulness.”]

Ambrose, in Luc., 22, 57: I had rather that Peter deny, than that the Lord be made out false.

Raban.: In this denial of Peter we affirm that Christ is denied not only by him who denies that He is Christ, but who denies himself to be a Christian.

Aug.: Let us now come to the third denial; “And after a while came they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them,” (Luke’s words are, “About the space of one hour after, [Luke 22:59]) for thy speech bewrayeth thee.”

Jerome: Not that Peter was of a different speech or nation, but a Hebrew as his accusers were; but every province and every district has its peculiarities, and he could not disguise his native pronunciation.

Remig.: Observe how baneful are communications with evil men; they even drove Peter to deny the Lord whom be had before confessed to be the Son of God.

Raban.: Observe, that he said the first time, “I know not what thou sayest;” the second time, “He denied with an oath;” the third time, “He began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man.” For to persevere in sinning increases sinfulness, and he who disregards light sins, falls into greater.

Remig.: Spiritually; By Peter’s denial before the cock-crow, are denoted those who before Christ’s resurrection did not believe Him to be God, being perplexed by His death. In his denial after the first cock-crow, are denoted those who are in error concerning both Christ’s natures, His human and divine. By the first handmaid is signified desire; by the second, carnal delight; by them that stood by, the daemons; for by them men are led to a denial of Christ.

Origen: Or, By the first handmaid is understood the Synagogue of the Jews, which oft compelled the faithful to deny; by the second, the congregations of the Gentiles, who even persecuted the Christians; they that stood in the hall signify the ministers of divers heresies, who also compel men to deny the truth of Christ.

Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 45: Also Peter thrice denied, because heretical error concerning Christ is limited to three kinds; they are in error respecting His divinity, His humanity, or both.

Raban.: After the third denial comes the cock-crow; by which we may understand a Doctor of the Church who with chiding rouses the slumbering, saying, “Awake, ye righteous, and sin not.” [1 Cor 15:14] Thus Holy Scripture uses to denote the merit of divers cases [marg. note: meritum causarum] by fixed periods, as Peter sinned at midnight and repented at cock-crow.

Jerome: In another Gospel we read, that after Peter’s denial and thee cock-crow, the Saviour “looked upon Peter,” [Luke 22,61] and by His look called forth those bitter tears; for it might not be that he on whom the Light of the world had looked should continue in the darkness of denial, wherefore, “he went out, and wept bitterly.” For he could not do penitence sitting in Caiaphas’ hall, but went forth from the assembly of the wicked, that he might wash away in bitter tears the pollution of his timid denial.

Leo, Serm. 60, 4: Blessed tears, O holy Apostle, which had the virtue of holy Baptism in washing off the sin of thy denial. The right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ was with thee to hold thee up before thou wast quite thrown down, and in the midst of thy perilous fall, thou receivedst strength to stand. The Rock quickly returned to its stability, recovering so great fortitude, that he who in Christ’s passion had quailed, should endure his own subsequent suffering with fearlessness and constancy.

Proceed to Post 2.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Notes on the Passion of Matthew, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Resources for Palm Sunday Mass, April 17 (Ordinary & ExtraordinaryForms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 13, 2011

This post contains resources for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. The Processional Gospel is identical in both Forms, as is the Second (or Epistle) reading. The Gospel reading is shorter in the EF but is from Matthew and falls within the compass of the OF reading. For these reasons I have not provided two separate sections listing resources for the respective forms; rather, the resources are divided up under various categories.

Readings:

Mass Readings for the Ordinary Form.
Roman Missal for the Extraordinary Form. Latin and English.

Some General Resources on Palm Sunday:

The History Of Palm Sundayby Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B.  From his classic work on the liturgy.

All About Palm SundayHistory, Information, Prayers, Resources, Traditions.

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen.  Links below. Three talks delivered on Good Friday in 1977.  These are only lengthy parts of a three hour talk and not the full presentation, nonetheless, they are excellent.
Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.

Processional Gospel:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Processional Gospel for Palm Sunday (Matt 21:1-11).

Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on the Processional Gospel for Palm Sunday (Matt 21:1-11).

Notes From Word Sunday the Processional Gospel for Palm Sunday (Matt 21:1-11). Includes popular translation, literal translation, notes.

Homily on the Processional Gospel. By Bishop Bonomelli. (A.D. 1831-1914).

Homily on the Proper Reception of Holy Communion. Based on Matt 21:5, by Fr Augustine Wirth (A.D. 1828-1901).

First Reading:

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 50:4-7. Excerpted from the popular commentary.

Notes From Word Sunday on Isaiah 50:4-7. Brief notes.

Responsorial Psalm:

Word Sunday on Psalm 22. Brief notes covering the whole Psalm.

Aquinas on Psalm 22 (21). In Aquinas’ day the numbering of the Psalms was different and this particular one was identified as Psalm 21. Site includes both Latin and English text side by side.

Second Reading:

First Homily Of St John Chrysostom on Philippains 2:6-11. Long, deeply doctrinal, many may find it difficult.

Second Homily of St John Chrysostom on Philippians 2:6-11. Long, less doctrinal.

Aquinas’ Lectures on Philippians 2:6-11.

Father Brnardin de Piconio on Philippians 2:6-11. Piconio was a 17th century scholar whose commentary enjoyed wide popularity.

Pope John Paul II on Philippians 2:6-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Philippians 2:6-11.

Father Callan on Philippians 2:6-11. Father Callan was a well known biblical scholar and theologian in the first half of the 2oth century.

Notes from Word Sunday on Philippians 2:6-11. Includes popular and literal translation followed by notes.

Homily on Philippians 2:6-11. By Bishop Bonomelli (A.D. 18:31-1914).

Homily by St John Henry Newman. From his Parochial and Plain Sermons.

Gospel Reading:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 26:1-27:66. Links below.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matt 26:1-27:66. Not yet Available, will update.

Reflecting on the Gospel for Palm Sunday. Excerpted from THE GOSPEL OF MATTEW, part of a new commentary series on the NT for Catholics.

Word Sunday on Matt 26:14-27:66. Links below.

Father Donald Senior’s Commentary on Matt 26:1-27:66. Links below.

The Mental Sufferings of our Lord in His Passion. A homily by St John Henry Cardinal Newman from his Discourses to Mixed congregations.

More Resources:

Catholic Matters. Reflections and applications based upon the readings.

Bible Study. From St Charles Borromeo Parish. Includes notes on all the readings, including the Processional Gospel.

Dr Scott Hahn Podcast. Brief, does good job of relating the readings, highlighting theme(s).

St Martha’s Podcast. Looks at the readings in some detail, especially the Gospel.

Franciscan Sister’s bible Study Podcast. Not yet available, will update.

Haydock Bible Commentary. Readings from the Douay Rheims on the left, notes from the old Haydock commentary on the right.

Father Robert Barron’s Audio Homily. Fr. Barron is a well known theologian and speaker.


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My Notes on the Gospel for Palm Sunday, Post 2 (Matt 26:20-25)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 10, 2011

See post 1 on Matt 26:14-19 here

Matt 26:20-25 form an inclusio with the opening verses of the Palm Sunday reading (Matt 26:14-16). Judas’ decision to betray Jesus was closely associated with a meal, and motivated by events relating to the death of Jesus (Matt 26:6-13). Now the actual act of betrayal is set in motion within the context of the Last Supper.

Mat 26:20  But when it was evening, he sat down with his twelve disciples.

Jesus sitting down with his disciples recalls the nature of the group he has surrounded himself with, repentant sinners: And it came to pass as he was sitting at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came, and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.  And the Pharisees seeing it, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat with publicans and sinners?  But Jesus hearing it, said: They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill.  Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners (Matt 9:10-13). Judas, however, has repented of his repentance.

With his twelve disciples emphasizes both the closeness of the group with Jesus (with his), and the purpose of that closeness, discipleship and ministry (twelve). See Matt 10:1-2, 5; 11:1; 19:29; 20:17.

Mat 26:21  And whilst they were eating, he said: Amen I say to you that one of you is about to betray me.

Whilst they were eating highlights the perfidy of the betrayer, for among the ancients sharing a meal was sharing life, and betrayal at a meal was a rejection of a communion in life with the betrayed. Perhaps some idea of the perfidy involved in meal betrayal can be seen from the book of Daniel: And his strength, and his heart, shall be stirred up aginst the king of the south, with a great army: and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with many and very strong succours: and they shall not stand, for they shall form designs against him.  And they that eat bread with him, shall destroy him, and his army shall be overthrown: and many shall fall down slain.  And the heart of the two kings shall be to do evil, and they shall speak lies at one table, and they shall not prosper: because as yet the end is unto another time (Dan 11:25-27).

One of you will betray me. In the previous post we saw the importance of the word betray (see my notes on 26:16). The word recalls to my mind the second passion prediction: And when they abode together in Galilee, Jesus said to them: The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall rise again. And they were troubled exceedingly (Matt 17:22-23).

Mat 26:22  And they being very much troubled began every one to say: Is it I, Lord?

The word they being very much troubled also calls to mind the passion prediction I just quoted. One can only imagine how devastating this new revelation concerning his passion was.

The above translation of verse 22 reads: And they…began every one to say… but this is a poor rendering. The RSV gives a better reading: And they…began to say to him one after another… There faith is on display here as each singly asks a question which, in its Greek form, expects a negative response. The nuance is hard to convey in English without resorting to paraphrasing: Certainly it is not I, is it, Lord? The above translation of the question, like that employed by most English translations, is, or at least can be, misleading.

The key to understanding the verse is the use of the word Lord in the question. As Father Donald Senior notes in his THE PASSION OF JESUS IN THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, the word Lord is important for Matthew. It is used by those exhibiting faith in Jesus, especially in the healing stories and in crisis situation (e.g., Matt 8:2, 25; 14:30).

Mat 26:23  But he answering said: He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me.

The communion in life and friendship which the sharing of a meal signified has already been mentioned. The betrayal is further heightened by the fact that they are not only sharing food, but food from the same dish. Father Daniel Harrington, in his Sacra Pagina Commentary on THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW suggests that the reference to dipping with me in the dish emphasizes the Passover context, for such sharing from dishes was a common feature of that meal. If this is so then the hideousness of Judas’ betrayal is further emphasized.

Mat 26:24  The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him. But woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born.

Woe to that man by whom the son of man is betrayed.  The one who had once uttered blessings upon his disciple Judas (Matt 5:3-12) now issues a death dirge, a lamentation, a curse: woe.

Origen, a theologian from the early Church makes an interesting point concerning the words by whom (literally, through whom, Greek, δι ου):  “He said not, By whom “the Son of Man is betrayed,” but “through whom,” (Jn 13,2) pointing out another, to wit the Devil, as the author of His betrayal, Judas as the minister. But woe also to all betrayers of Christ! and such is every one who betrays a disciple of Christ.”

Mat 26:25  And Judas that betrayed him answering, said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it.

Better: Certainly it is not I, is it, Rabbi. The form of Judas’ question is exactly the same as that of the others in verse 22 in that it also demands and expects a negative response. There is, however, one glaring difference, Judas uses the title Rabbi instead of Lord.  The difference is not without significance, especially when one realizes that Rabbi has negative connotations in Matthew (see Matt 23:7-8. Also compare the parallels between Matt 17:4 and Mark 9:5; and, also, compare Matt 21:20 with Mark 11:21; and, finally, Matt 20:33 with Mark 10:51. Notice that Matthew either changes or omits use of the term).

The fact that Judas uses the term Rabbi was, perhaps, an attempt to flatter the Lord (Matt 23:7-8); if such is the case it should be seen as an attempted temptation.

You have said it. Highlights both our Lord’s knowledge and Judas’ hypocrisy.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Passion of Matthew, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

My Notes on Matt 26:14-19 for Palm Sunday

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 10, 2011

This is the first in a series of posts on the Gospel Reading for Palm Sunday. Given the length of the reading I doubt I will have the opportunity to complete the series but I’ll try my best.

Mat 26:14  Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests.
Mat 26:15  And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver.
Mat 26:16  And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him.

Matthew introduces Judas’ act of betrayal with the word then, τοτε in Greek (i.e., tote). He wishes with this word to show us that Judas’ act of betrayal begins as the woman is anointing Jesus (Matt 26:7-13).  Judas, it appears, took the misplaced indignation of the disciple (Matt 26:7-8) to an extreme, so some have thought. It seems more plausible that he has understood completely our Lord’s repeated references to his death and wants no part of the cross for himself. The woman surrendered something precious as an act of discipleship towards her Lord who was about to die; but Judas surrendered something more precious, his discipleship and his apostleship (“one of the twelve”) in service to his own self-preservation. The irony is that he who would not take up the cross and follow Jesus (Matt 16:24-26), lest he be persecuted for righteousness sake, reviled, insulted and declared evil like the prophets of old (Matt 5:10-11), lest he be hauled before various authorities and scourged, (Matt 10:26-33)…he has chosen a path which will lead him to death by his own hand (Matt 27:3-10), and to the fate of being the most reviled man in history. What the woman did for Jesus will be told of her wherever the Gospel is preached (Matt 26:13), and in that same context what Judas has done will be told of him.

According to Matthew, Judas’ betrayal is also about money: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? As one of the twelve he had given up everything to follow Jesus (Matt 19:27) and, as a result, stood to receive a throne upon which to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and eternal life as well (Matt 19:28-30). Instead, he throws it away for thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave (Exodus 21:32).

Matthew, with the reference to thirty pieces of silver, is alluding to Zechariah 11:12, concerning which, see the footnote to zechariah 11:4-17 in the NAB.

Money in hand Judas sought opportunity to betray him. The word betray (παραδω = parado), like the word Judas used when he said I will deliver (παραδωσω= paradoso) him unto to you, are derived from παραδίδωμι = paradidōmi, and this word-in its various forms-is a key word in Matthew. John the Baptist was delivered up (παρεδοθη Matt 4:12); Jesus warned that his apostles, including Judas, faced the prospect of being delivered up (παραδωσιν, in Matt 10:19, and παραδωσει in Matt 10:21. See also Matt 24:9-10); and, of course, he predicted that he himself would be delivered up (παραδιδοσθαι, Matt 17:22. See also Matt 20:18-19).

The fact that Jesus has predicted his betrayal and delivery indicates that he is in control of the situation, not Judas, not the authorities. The opportunity (Greek, ευκαιριαν), literally, “the favorable time” to hand him over is not in the hand of Judas at all.

Mat 26:17  And on the first day of the Azymes, the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the pasch?
Mat 26:18  But Jesus said: Go ye into the city to a certain man and say to him: The master saith, My time is near at hand. With thee I make the pasch with my disciples.
Mat 26:19  And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them: and they prepared the pasch.

The feast of Azymes (i.e., Unleavened Bread) coincided with that of Passover; indeed, so closely connected were the two that they came to be spoken of as just a single feast, though sight of the significance and meaning of both feasts was never lost. The two feasts began on the same day, and though Passover lasted just one day, Azymes (Unleavened Bread) lasted 7. What Matthew here calls the first day of Azymes is the day of preparation. This feast, like some others was extended by the Jews to last longer than prescribed. This day was the day on which the Hebrews cleaned out leaven from their homes in anticipation for the start of Azymes and Passover. Concerning the two feasts see Exodus 12.

Some scholars make much of the fact that the disciples question, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the pasch? contrasts with Jesus’ response, I make the pasch with my disciples.  They think that the disciples are trying to avoid the implications of this particular Pasch (Passover) for themselves. They see it as if the conversation went something like this~ The disciples: “This Passover, which will involve suffering, is for thee, Jesus”. Jesus responds: “I make this Passover with you, my disciples, whom I’ve called upon to pick up the cross and follow me.”   I’m not sure this is a valid interpretation, though, of course, I must emphasize that I’m not biblical scholar.

In none of the passion predictions are the disciples said to have a roll to play. It is Jesus who must go to Jerusalem, suffer at the hands of the leaders, die, and rise on the third day (Matt 16:21-22). True, this fact has meaning for the demands of discipleship (Matt 16:24-28), but nowhere does our Lord even hint at the fact that he expected his disciples to accompany him to Calvary on this particular Passover; it was, after all, HIS appointed (favorable, opportune) time (καιρος, verse 18. See note on Matt 26:16).

Also, such an interpretation doesn’t fit well with the overall message of the passage under consideration (Matt 26:17-19). The Markan parallel is a bit longer, and it emphasizes our Lord’s foreknowledge (Mk 14:12-16), whereas Matthew emphasizes the fact that the disciples obey a command of Jesus. It would be odd in such a context for the Evangelist to imply that the question of the disciples shows a lack of faith.

Post 2: On Matt 26:20-25.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Notes on the Passion of Matthew, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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