Monday, April 19, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 5:27–32, 40b–41
Second Reading Revelation 5:11–14
Gospel John 21:1–19 or John 21:1–14

St. Ambrose--the threefold admonishment to feed Christ's flock corresponds to Peter's threefold denial:
It is Peter, chosen by the Lord Himself to feed His flock, who merits thrice to hear the words: “Feed My little lambs; feed My lambs; feed My sheep.” (Jn 21:15) And so, by feeding well the flock of Christ with the food of faith, he effaced the sin of his former fall. For this reason is he thrice admonished to feed the flock; thrice is he asked whether he loves the Lord, in order that he may thrice confess Him, Whom he had thrice denied before His Crucifixion. (Mt 26:70) (Ambrose, De fide 5, Prol. 2, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 284)

St. Augustine--By His Resurrection, Christ took away Peter's fear of death:
Where now is that denier? Then after this the Lord Christ said, “Follow Me.” Not in the same sense as before, when he called the disciples. For then too He said, “Follow Me;” but then to instruction, now to a crown. Was he not afraid to be put to death when he denied Christ? He was afraid to suffer that which Christ suffered. But now he must be afraid no more. For he saw Him now Alive in the Flesh, whom he had seen hanging on the Tree. By His Resurrection Christ took away the fear of death; and forasmuch as He had taken away the fear of death, with good reason did He enquire of Peter’s love. Fear had thrice denied, love thrice confessed. The threefoldness (trinitas) of denial, the forsaking of the Truth; the threefoldhess of confession, the testimony of love. (Augustine, Serm. 147.3, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 544)

St. John Chrysostom on the responses of Peter and John to the risen Lord:
But when they recognized Him, the disciples Peter and John again exhibited the peculiarities of their several tempers. The one was more fervent, the other more lofty; the one more keen, the other more clear-sighted. On this account John first recognized Jesus, Peter first came to Him. (Jn 21:11) For no ordinary signs were they which had taken place. What were they? First, that so many fish were caught; then, that the net did not break; (Jn 21:22) then, that before they landed, the coals had been found, and fish laid thereon, and bread. (Jn 21:9, 10) For He no longer made things out of matter already subsisting, as, through a certain dispensation, He did before the Crucifixion. When therefore Peter knew Him, he threw down all, both fish and nets, and girded himself.Seest thou his respect and love? Yet they were only two hundred cubits off; but not even so could Peter wait to go to Him in the boat, but reached the shore by swimming. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 87.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 329)

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