Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 15:1–2, 22–29
Second Reading Revelation 21:10–14, 22–23
Gospel John 14:23–29

St. Cyprian of Carthage--peace is our heritage from Christ and is to be carefully preserved:
The son of peace ought to seek peace and ensue it. He who knows and loves the bond of charity, ought to refrain his tongue from the evil of dissension. Among His divine commands and salutary teachings, the Lord, when He was now very near to His passion, added this one, saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” (Jn 14:27) He gave this to us as an heritage; He promised all the gifts and rewards of which He spoke through the preservation of peace. If we are fellow-heirs with Christ, let us abide in the peace of Christ; if we are sons of God, we ought to be peacemakers. “Blessed,” says He, “are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.” (Mt 5:9) It behoves the sons of God to be peacemakers, gentle in heart, simple in speech, agreeing in affection, faithfully linked to one another in the bonds of unanimity. (Cyprian, De unit. eccl. 24, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 429)

St. Gregory Nazianzen--the Holy Spirit, given to the Church, teaches His own Divinity:
Our Saviour had some things which, He said, could not be borne at that time by His disciples (Jn 16:12) (though they were filled with many teachings), perhaps for the reasons I have mentioned; and therefore they were hidden. And again He said that all things should be taught us by the Spirit when He should come to dwell amongst us. (Jn 14:26) Of these things one, I take it, was the Deity of the Spirit Himself, made clear later on when such knowledge should be seasonable and capable of being received after our Saviour’s restoration, when it would no longer be received with incredulity because of its marvellous character. For what greater thing than this did either He promise, or the Spirit teach. If indeed anything is to be considered great and worthy of the Majesty of God, which was either promised or taught. (Greg. Naz., Orat. 31.27, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 326)

St. Hilary explains Our Lord's saying that the Father is greater:
He who has not grasped the manifest truths of the faith, obviously cannot have an understanding of its mysteries; because he has not the doctrine of the Gospel he is an alien to the hope of the Gospel. We must confess the Father to be in the Son and the Son in the Father, by unity of nature, by might of power, as equal in honour as Begetter and Begotten. But. perhaps you say, the witness of our Lord Himself is contrary to this declaration, for He says, The Father is greater than I (Jn 14:28). Is this, heretic, the weapon of your profanity? Are these the arms of your frenzy? Has it escaped you, that the Church does not admit two Unbegotten, or confess two Fathers? Have you forgotten the Incarnation of the Mediator, with the birth, the cradle, the child hood, the passion, the cross and the death belonging to it? When you were born again, did you not confess the Son of God, born of Mary? If the Son of God, of Whom these things are true, says, The Father is greater than I, can you be ignorant that the Incarnation for your salvation was an emptying of the form of God, and that the Father, unaffected by this assumption of human conditions, abode in the blessed eternity of His own incorrupt nature without taking our flesh? (Hilary, De Trin. 9.51, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 173)

St. Augustine--Jesus leaves us peace in this world and will give us His own peace in the world to come. He Himself is our peace:
“Peace,” He said, “I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” It is here we read in the prophet, “Peace upon peace:” peace He leaves with us when going away, His own peace He will give us when He cometh in the end. Peace He leaveth with us in this world, His own peace He will give us in the world to come. His own peace He leaveth with us, and abiding therein we conquer the enemy. His own peace He will give us when, with no more enemies to fight, we shall reign as kings. Peace He leaveth with us, that here also we may love one another: His own peace will He give us, where we shall be beyond the possibility of dissension. Peace He leaveth with us, that we may not judge one another of what is secret to each, while here on earth: His own peace will He give us, when He “will make manifest the counsels of the heart; and then shall every man have praise of God.” (1 Co 4:5) And yet in Him and from Him it is that we have peace, whether that which He leaveth with us when going to the Father, or that which He will give us when we ourselves are brought by Him to the Father. And what is it He leaveth with us, when ascending from us, save His own presence, which He never withdraweth? For He Himself is our peace who hath made both one. (Eph 2:14) It is He, therefore, that becomes our peace, both when we believe that He is, and when we see Him as He is. (1 Jn 3:2) For if, so long as we are in this corruptible body that burdens the soul, and are walking by faith, not by sight, He forsaketh not those who are sojourning at a distance from Himself; (2 Co 5:6, 7) how much more, when we have attained to that sight, shall He fill us with Himself? (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 77.3, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 339)