Monday, September 13, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Amos 8:4–7
Second Reading 1 Timothy 2:1–8
Gospel Luke 16:1–13 or Luke 16:10–13

Origen--the prayers of Christians a more effective help to rulers than soldiers:
‎‎we do, when occasion requires, give help to kings, and that, so to say, a divine help, “putting on the whole armour of God.” (Eph. 6:11) And this we do in obedience to the injunction of the apostle, “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; ” (1 Tim 2:1, 2) and the more any one excels in piety, the more effective help does he render to kings, even more than is given by soldiers, who go forth to fight and slay as many of the enemy as they can. (Origen, Cont. Cels. 8.73, ANF, vol. 4, pg. 667)

St. Augustine on Christ the Mediator:
‎‎‎But the true Mediator, whom in Thy secret mercy Thou hast pointed out to the humble, and didst send, that by His example also they might learn the same humility—that “Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim 2:5) appeared between mortal sinners and the immortal Just One—mortal with men, just with God; that because the reward of righteousness is life and peace, He might, by righteousness conjoined with God, cancel the death of justified sinners, which He willed to have in common with them. Hence He was pointed out to holy men of old; to the intent that they, through faith in His Passion to come, even as we through faith in that which is past, might be saved. For as man He was Mediator; but as the Word He was not between, (medius) because equal to God, and God with God, and together with the Holy Spirit one God. (Augustine, Conf. 10.43.68, NPNF1, vol. 1, pg. 162)

St. Augustine--no man is saved unless God wills it, so we must pray for our salvation:
‎‎Accordingly, when we hear and read in Scripture that He “will have all men to be saved,” (1 Tim 2:4) although we know well that all men are not saved, we are not on that account to restrict the omnipotence of God, but are rather to understand the Scripture, “Who will have all men to be saved,” as meaning that no man is saved unless God wills his salvation: not that there is no man whose salvation He does not will, but that no man is saved apart from His will; and that, therefore, we should pray Him to will our salvation, because if He will it, it must necessarily be accomplished. (Augustine, Enchir. 103.27, NPNF1, vol. 8, pg. 270)

St. John Chrysostom on offering prayers and thanksgiving:
‎‎He says, “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks.” For we must give thanks to God for the good that befalls others, as that He maketh the sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and sendeth His rain both upon the just and the unjust. Observe how he would unite and bind us together, not only by prayer but by thanksgiving. For he who is urged to thank God for his neighbor’s good, is also bound to love him, and be kindly disposed towards him. And if we must give thanks for our neighbor’s good, much more for what happens to ourselves, and for what is unknown, and even for things against our will, and such as appear grievous to us, since God dispenses all things for our good. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Tim. 6, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 427)

John Cassian--the things we have are not our own:
‎‎In leaving then these visible goods of the world we forsake not our own wealth, but that which is not ours, although we boast of it as either gained by our own exertions or inherited by us from our forefathers. For as I said nothing is our own, save this only which we possess with our heart, and which cleaves to our soul, and therefore cannot be taken away from us by any one. But Christ speaks in terms of censure of those visible riches, to those who clutch them as if they were their own, and refuse to share them with those in want. “If ye have not been faithful in what is another’s, who will give to you what is your own?” (Lk 16:12) Plainly then it is not only daily experience which teaches us that these riches are not our own, but this saying of our Lord also, by the very title which it gives them. (Cassian, Collat. 1.3.10, NPNF2, vol. 11, pg. 324-325)

St. John Chrysostom--make "friends of the mammon of unrighteousness" by giving alms:
‎‎Let us make then to ourselves “friends of the mammon of unrighteousness” (Luke xvi. 9), that is: Let us give alms; let us exhaust our possessions upon them, that so we may exhaust that fire: that we may quench it, that we may have boldness there. For there also it is not they who receive us, but our own work: for that it is not simply their being our friends which can save us, learn from what is added. For why did He not say, “Make to yourselves friends, that they may receive you into their everlasting habitations,” but added also the manner? For saying, “of the mammon of unrighteonsness,” He points out that we must make friends of them by means of our possessions, showing that mere friendship will not protect us, unless we have good works, unless we spend righteously the wealth unrighteously gathered. (Chrysostom, Hom. Heb. 1.4, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 369)

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