Monday, August 9, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Jeremiah 38:4–6, 8–10
Second Reading Hebrews 12:1–4
Gospel Luke 12:49–53

St. Augustine--faith in Jesus is an unmerited gift, as He is the beginniner and finisher of faith:
‎[O]ur being born again of water and the Spirit is not recompensed to us for any merit, but freely given; and if faith has brought us to the laver of regeneration, we ought not therefore to suppose that we have first given anything, so that the regeneration of salvation should be recompensed to us again; because He made us to believe in Christ, who made for us a Christ on whom we believe. He makes in men the beginning and the completion of the faith in Jesus who made the man Jesus the beginner and finisher of faith; (Heb. 12:2) for thus, as you know, He is called in the epistle which is addressed to the Hebrews. (Augustine, De praed. sanct. 15.31, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 313)

St. John Chrysostom--by His ignominious death, Christ teaches us to make no account ofthe glory of men:
‎“Who for the joy that was set before Him” (he says) “endured the cross, despising the shame.” But what is, “Despising the shame”? He chose, he means, that ignominious death. For suppose that He died. Why [should He] also [die] ignominiously? For no other reason, but to teach us to make no account of glory from men. Therefore though under no obligation He chose it, teaching us to be bold against it, and to set it at nought. (Chrysostom, Hom. Heb. 28.4, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 493)

Tertullian on the baptism of blood:
‎‎We have indeed, likewise, a second font, (itself withal one with the former,) of blood, to wit; concerning which the Lord said, “I have to be baptized with a baptism,” (Lk 12:50) when He had been baptized already. For He had come “by means of water and blood,” (1 Jn 5:6) just as John has written; that He might be baptized by the water, glorified by the blood; to make us, in like manner, called by water, chosen  by blood. These two baptisms He sent out from the wound in His pierced side, (Jn 19:34) in order that they who believed in His blood might be bathed with the water; they who had been bathed in the water might likewise drink the blood. (Jn 6:53, etc.) This is the baptism which both stands in lieu of the fontal bathing when that has not been received, and restores it when lost. (Tertullian, De bapt. 16, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 677)

St. Gregory Nazianzen--Christ desires to send a cleansing fire:
‎‎For I know a cleansing fire which Christ came to send upon the earth, (Lk 12:49) and He Himself is anagogically called a Fire. This Fire takes away whatsoever is material and of evil habit; and this He desires to kindle with all speed, for He longs for speed in doing us good, since He gives us even coals of fire to help us. (Is 47:14, LXX) (Greg. Naz., Orat. 40.36, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 373)

St. Augustine on the fire of divine charity:
‎‎‎[W]hen the divine majesty has begun to disclose itself as far as suffices for man while a dweller on the earth, such fervent charity is produced, and such a flame of divine love is kindled, that by the burning out of all vices, and by the purification and sanctification of the man, it becomes plain how divine are these words, “I am a consuming fire,” (Deut. 4:24) and, “I have come to send fire on the earth.” (Lk 12:49) These two utterances of one God stamped on both Testaments, exhibit with harmonious testimony, the sanctification of the soul, pointing forward to the accomplishment of that which is also quoted in the New Testament from the Old: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? Where. O death, is thy contest?” (Hos 13:14; 1 Co 15:54, 55) (Augustine, De mor. Eccl. 30.64, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 58- 59)

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