Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sententiae Pastristicae: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 13:14, 43–52
Second Reading Revelation 7:9, 14b–17
Gospel John 10:27–30

Tertullian on the dazzling whiteness of the robes of the martyrs:
For yet again a countless throng are revealed, clothed in white and distinguished by palms of victory, celebrating their triumph doubtless over Antichrist, since one of the elders says, “These are they who come out of that great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7:14) For the flesh is the clothing of the soul. The uncleanness, indeed, is washed away by baptism, but the stains are changed into dazzling whiteness by martyrdom. (Tertullian, Scorpiace 12, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 646)

Tertullian on the oneness of the Father and the Son:
The Word, therefore, is both always in the Father, as He says, “I am in the Father; ” (Jn 14:11) and is always with God, according to what is written, “And the Word was with God; ” (Jn 1:1) and never separate from the Father, or other than the Father, since “I and the Father are one.” (Jn 10:30) This will be the prolation, taught by the truth, the guardian of the Unity, wherein we declare that the Son is a prolation from the Father, without being separated from Him. (Tertullian, Cont. Prax. 8, ANF vol. 3, pg. 603)

St. Gregory of Nyssa on the same:
Having heard of Father and Son from the Truth, we are taught in those two subjects the oneness of their nature; their natural relation to each other expressed by those names indicates that nature; and so do Our Lord’s own words. For when He said, “I and My Father are one,” (Jn 10:30) He conveys by that confession of a Father exactly the truth that He Himself is not a first cause, at the same time that He asserts by His union with the Father their common nature; so that these words of His secure our faith from the taint of heretical error on either side. (Greg. Nyss., Cont. Eun. 1.34, NPNF2, vol. 5. pg. 81)

St. Ambrose--the "hand" of the Father signifying the Spirit, Jn 10:29-30 tells us that those who recieve eternal life in the Name of the Trinity (cf. the baptismal formula) will not be torn from Father, Son or Spirit:
So, then, if we attend diligently, we comprehend here also the oneness of the Divine Power. He says: “That which My Father hath given unto Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” (Jn 10:29, 30) For if we rightly showed above that the Holy Spirit is the Hand of the Father, the same is certainly the Hand of the Father which is the Hand of the Son, since the Same is the Spirit of the Father Who is the Spirit of the Son. Therefore whosoever of us receives eternal life in this Name of the Trinity, as he is not torn from the Father; so he is not torn from the Son, so too he is not torn from the Spirit. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 3.16.116, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 151)

St. Augustine on the inadequacy of words to describe the Holy Trinity:
For, in truth, as the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father, and that Holy Spirit who is also called the gift of God is neither the Father nor the Son, certainly they are three. And so it is said plurally, “I and my Father are one.” (Jn 10:30) For He has not said, “is one,” as the Sabellians say; but, “are one.” Yet, when the question is asked, What three? human language labors altogether under great poverty of speech. The answer, however, is given, three “persons,” not that it might be [completely] spoken, but that it might not be left [wholly] unspoken. (Augustine, De Trin. 5.9, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 92)

St. John Chrysostom--the power of the Father and the Son is the same:
Then that thou mayest not suppose that He indeed is weak, but that the sheep are in safety through the power of the Father, He addeth, “I and the Father are One.” As though He had said “I did not assert that on account of the Father no man plucketh them away, as though I were too weak to keep the sheep. For I and the Father are One.” Speaking here with reference to Power, for concerning this was all His discourse; and if the power be the same, it is clear that the Essence is also. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 61.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 224)

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