Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sententia Patristicae: Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Zechariah 12:10–11, 13:1
Second Reading Galatians 3:26–29
Gospel Luke 9:18–24

St. Jerome discusses variations between the LXX, the Hebrew and the Old Latin in Zech 12:10:
‎To take another instance from Zechariah, the evangelist John quotes from the Hebrew, “They shall look on him whom they pierced,” (Jn 19:37; Zech 12:10) for which we read in the Septuagint, “And they shall look upon me because they have mocked me,” and in the Latin version, “And they shall look upon me for the things which they have mocked or insulted.” Here the evangelist, the Septuagint, and our own version [i.e. the Italic, for theVulgate, which was not then published, accurately represents the Hebrew.] all differ; yet the divergence of language is atoned by oneness of spirit. In Matthew again we read of the Lord preaching flight to the apostles and confirming His counsel with a passage from Zechariah. (Jerome, Ep. 57.7, NPNF2, vol. 6, pg. 115)

St. Gregory the Great--the house of David is a fountain of ablution for sinners because of the mercy disclosed through Christ:
‎That woman who had been a sinner in the city, those hands which had been polluted with iniquity, touched the feet of Him who sits at the right hand of the Father above all the angels. Let us estimate, if we can, what those bowels of heavenly loving-kindness are, that a woman who had been plunged through sin into the whirlpool’s depth should be thus lifted high on the wing of love through grace. It is fulfilled, sweetdaughter, it is fulfilled, what was promised to us by the prophetic voice concerning this time of the holy Church: And in that day the house of David shall be an open fountain for ablution of the sinner and of her that is unclean (Zech. 13:1). For the house of David is an open fountain for ablution to us sinners, because we are washed from the filth of our iniquities by mercy now disclosed through the son of David our Saviour. (Gregory the Great, Regist. 7.25, NPNF2, vol. 12, pg. 219)

St. Hilary of Poitiers--the unity of the faithful arises from the nature of the sacraments:
‎For the Apostle shews that this unity of the faithful arises from the nature of the sacraments when be writes to the Galatians. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. There is neither ew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:27, 28). That these are one amid so great diversities of race, condition, sex,—is it from an agreement of will or from the unity of the sacrament, since these have one baptism and have all put on one Christ? What, therefore, will a concord of minds avail here when they are one in that they have put on one Christ through the nature of one baptism? (Hilary, De Trin. 8.8, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 139)

St. Augustine--our divisions arise from our first birth, our union comes by our second birth in Christ:
“As many as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ: there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female, there is neither bond nor free; but all are one in Christ.” (Gal 3:27, 28) Man, then, is made by God, not when from one he is divided into many, but when from many he becomes one. The division is in the first birth, or that of the body; union comes by the second, which is immaterial and divine. (Augustine, Contra Faust. 24.1, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 317)

St. John Chrysostom--the bapitized carry about with them the form of the Lord of all:
‎Ver. 28. “There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female: for ye all are one in Christ Jesus.”

‎See what an insatiable soul! for having said, “We are all made children of God through Faith,” he does not stop there, but tries to find something more exact, which may serve to convey a still closer oneness with Christ. Having said, “ye have put on Christ,” even this does not suffice Him, but by way of penetrating more deeply into this union, he comments on it thus: “Ye are all One in Christ Jesus,” that is, ye have all one form and one mould, even Christ’s. What can be more awful than these words! He that was a Greek, or Jew, or bond-man yesterday, carries about with him the form, not of an Angel or Archangel, but of the Lord of all, yea displays in his own person the Christ (Chrysostom, Hom. Gal. 3, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 30)

Tertullian on taking up your cross:
‎If you wish to be the Lord’s disciple, it is necessary you “take your cross, and follow the Lord: ” (Mt 14:24, Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23, 14:27) your cross; that is, your own straits and tortures, or your body only, which is after the manner of a cross. (Tertullian, On Idolatry 12, ANF vol. 3, pg. 68)

St. Basil on the same:
Now a desire of suffering death for Christ and a mortification of one’s members which are upon the earth, and a manful resolution to undergo any danger for Christ, and an indifference towards the present life, this it is to take up one s cross. Hence it is added, And let him take up his cross daily. (Basil, in reg. fus. Int. 6 in Cat. Aur. 3.1, 315)

St. Cyril of Alexandria on the example set by Our Lord in prayer:
Our Lord having retired from the multitude, and being in a place apart, was engaged in prayer. As it is said, And it came to pass, as he was alone praying. For He ordained Himself as an example of this, instructing His disciples by an easy method of teaching. For I suppose the rulers of the people ought to be superior also in good deeds, to those that are under them, ever holding converse with them in all necessary things, and treating of those things in which God delights. (Cyril of Alexandria, in Cat. Aur. 3.1, 310-311)

St. Ambrose on Our Lord's unwillingness to be preached:
But our Lord Jesus Christ was at first unwilling to be preached, lest an uproar should arise; as it follows, And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man any thing. For many reasons He commands His disciples to be silent ; to deceive the prince of this world, to reject boasting, to teach humility. Christ then would not boast, and dost thou boast who art of ignoble birth ? Likewise He did it to prevent rude and as yet imperfect disciples from being oppressed with the wonder of this awful announcement. They are then forbid to preach Him as the Son of God, that they might afterwards preach Him crucified. (Ambrose in Cat. Aur. 3.1, 312-313)

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