Monday, July 5, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Deuteronomy 30:10–14
Second Reading Colossians 1:15–20
Gospel Luke 10:25–37

St. Hilary of Poitiers--our confession of faith must not be vague or tardy but in our mouths and in our hearts:
‎‎But there is demanded from us an unwavering certainty. The Apostle expounding the whole secret of the Scripture passes on, Thy word is nigh, in thy mouth and in thy heart (Dt 30:14). The words of our confession must not be tardy or deliberately vague: there must be no interval between heart and lips, lest what ought to be the confession of true reverence become a subterfuge of infidelity. The word must be near us, and within us; no delay between the heart and the lips; a faith of conviction as well as of words. Heart and lips must be in harmony, and reveal in thought and utterance a religion which does not waver. (Hilary, De Trin. 10.70, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 202)

St. Athanasius--the Son of God, the "First-born of all creation" is not Himself a creature:
‎‎If then the Word also were one of the creatures, Scripture would have said of Him also that He was First-born of other creatures; but in fact, the saints saying that He is ‘First-born of the whole creation (Col 1:15),’ the Son of God is plainly shewn to be other than the whole creation and not a creature. For if He is a creature, He will be First-born of Himself. How then is it possible, O Arians, for Him to be before and after Himself? next, if He is a creature, and the whole creation through Him came to be, and in Him consists, how can He both create the creation and be one of the things which consist in Him? Since then such a notion is in itself unseemly, it is proved against them by the truth, that He is called ‘First-born among many brethren’ because of the relationship of the flesh, and ‘First-born from the dead,’ because the resurrection of the dead is from Him and after Him; and ‘First-born of the whole creation,’ because of the Father’s love to man, which brought it to pass that in His Word not, only ‘all things consist (Col 1:17),’ but the creation itself, of which the Apostle speaks, ‘waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, shall be delivered’ one time ‘from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom 8:19, 21).’ Of this creation thus delivered, the Lord will be First-born, both of it and of all those who are made children, that by His being called first, those that come after Him may abide, as depending on the Word as a beginning. (Athanasius, Four Discourses against the Arians 2.21, NPNF2, vol. 4, pg. 383)

St. Basil the Great on the "image of the invisible God":
‎‎Since then, as says the Lord in the Gospels, (Jn 14:9) he that hath seen the Son sees tim Father also; on this account he says that the Only-begotten is the express image of His Father’s person. That this may be made still plainer I will quote also other passages of the apostle in which he calls the Son “the image of the invisible God,” (Col 1:15) and again “image of His goodness;” not because the image differs from the Archetype according to the definition of indivisibility and goodness, but that it may be shewn that it is the same as the prototype, even though it be different. For the idea of the image would be lost were it not to preserve throughout the plain and invariable likeness. He therefore that has perception of the beauty of the image is made perceptive of the Archetype. So he, who has, as it were mental apprehension of the form of the Son, prints the express image of the Father’s hypostasis, beholding the latter in the former, not beholding in the reflection the unbegotten being of the Father (for thus there would be complete identity and no distinction), but gazing at tile unbegotten beauty in the Begotten. (Basil, Ep. 38.8, NPNF2, vol. 8, pg. 141)

St. Clement of Alexandria--Christ is the Good Samaritan, the neighbor we are to love:
‎‎ In both the commandments, then, He introduces love; but in order distinguishes it. And in the one He assigns to God the first part of love, and allots the second to our neighbour. Who else can it be but the Saviour Himself? or who more than He has pitied us, who by the rulers of darkness were all but put to death with many wounds, fears, lusts, passions, pains, deceits, pleasures? Of these wounds the only physician is Jesus, who cuts out the passions thoroughly by the root,—not as the law does the bare effects, the fruits of evil plants, but applies His axe to the roots of wickedness. He it is that poured wine on our wounded souls (the blood of David’s vine), that brought the oil which flows from the compassions of the Father, and bestowed it copiously. He it is that produced the ligatures of health and of salvation that cannot be undone,—Love, Faith, Hope. He it is that subjected angels, and principalities, and powers, for a great reward to serve us. For they also shall be delivered from the vanity of the world through the revelation of the glory of the sons of God. We are therefore to love Him equally with God. And he loves Christ Jesus who does His will and keeps His commandments. “For not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father.” (Mt 7:21) And “Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? ” (Lk 6:46) “And blessed are ye who see and hear what neither righteous men nor prophets” (have seen or heard), (Mt 13:16, 17) if ye do what I say. (Clem. Alex., Who is the Rich Man that Shall Be Saved? 29, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 599)

St. Augustine--he is our neighbor whom it is our duty to help in his need:
‎‎And He showed him that nobody was neighbor to this man except him who took pity upon him and came forward to relieve and care for him. And the man who had asked the question admitted the truth of this when he was himself interrogated in turn. To whom our Lord says, “Go and do thou likewise;” teaching us that he is our neighbor whom it is our duty to help in his need, or whom it would be our duty to help if he were in need. Whence it follows, that he whose duty it would be in turn to help us is our neighbor. For the name “neighbor” is a relative one, and no one can be neighbor except to a neighbor. And, again, who does not see that no exception is made of any one as a person to whom the offices of mercy may be denied when our Lord extends the rule even to our enemies? “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.” (Mt 5:44) (Augustine, De doctr. christ. 1.30.31, NPNF1, vol. 2, pg. 531)

St. Augustine--the sinner is healed in the inn of the Church:
‎‎True it is, when man was created he received great power of free-will; but he lost it by sin. He fell into death, became infirm, was left in the way by the robbers half dead; the Samaritan, which is by interpretation keeper, passing by lifted him up on his own beast; (Lk 10:30, etc.) he is still being brought to the inn. Why is he lifted up? He is still in process of curing. “But,” he will say, “it is enough for me that in baptism I received remission of all sins.” Because iniquity was blotted out, was therefore infirmity brought to an end? “I received,” says he, “remission of all sins.” It is quite true. All sins were blotted out in the Sacrament of Baptism, all entirely, of words, deeds, thoughts, all were blotted out. But this is the “oil and wine” which was poured in by the way. Ye remember, beloved Brethren, that man who was wounded by the robbers, and half dead by the way, how he was strengthened, by receiving oil and wine for his wounds. His error indeed was already pardoned, and yet his weakness is in process of healing in the inn. The inn, if ye recognise it, is the Church. In the time present, an inn, because in life we are passing by: it will be a home, whence we shall never remove, when we shall have got in perfect health unto the kingdom of heaven. Meanwhile receive we gladly our treatment in the inn, and weak as we still are, glory we not of sound health: lest through our pride we gain nothing else, but never for all our treatment to be cured. (Augustine, Serm. 131.6, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 503)

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