Friday, October 22, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Sirach 35:12–14, 16–18
Second Reading 2 Timothy 4:6–8, 16–18
Gospel Luke 18:9–14

St. John Chrysostom--we are called, as Paul, to offer ourselves as a pure sacrifice:
‎For if they that offered the sacrifices of old were bid to look on every side, and were not permitted to offer an animal “that hath anything superfluous or lacking, or is scurvy, or scabbed” (Lev. xxii. 22, Lev. 22:23), much more must we, who offer not senseless animals, but ourselves, exhibit more strictness, and be pure in all respects, that we also may be able to say as did Paul, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” (2 Tim. iv. 6.) For he was purer than any sacrifice, and so he speaks of himself as “ready to be offered.” But this will be brought about if we kill the old man, if we mortify our members that are upon the earth, if we crucify the world unto ourselves. (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 20, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 497)

St. John Chrysostom on fighting the good fight:
‎“A good fight,” he says, therefore do thou engage in it. But is that a good fight, where there are imprisonment, chains, and death? Yea, he says for it is fought in the cause of Christ, and great crowns are won in it. “The good fight”! There is no worthier than this contest. This crown is without end. This is not of olive leaves. It has not a human umpire. It has not men for spectators. The theater is crowded with Angels. There men labor many days, and suffer hardships, and for one hour they receive the crown, and immediately all the pleasure passes away. But here far otherwise, it continues for ever in brightness, glory, and honor. Henceforth we ought to rejoice. For I am entering on my rest, I am leaving the race. Thou hast heard that “it is better to depart and to be with Christ.” (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Tim. 9, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 510)

St. Cyprian of Carthage--the publican is justified because he trusts not in his own innocence:
‎And let not the worshipper, beloved brethren, be ignorant in what manner the publican prayed with the Pharisee in the temple. Not with eyes lifted up boldly to heaven, nor with hands proudly raised; but beating his breast, and testifying to the sins shut up within, he implored the help of the divine mercy. And while the Pharisee was pleased with himself, this man who thus asked, the rather deserved to be sanctified, since he placed the hope of salvation not in the confidence of his innocence, because there is none who is innocent; but confessing his sinfulness he humbly prayed, and He who pardons the humble heard the petitioner. (Cyprian, De orat. dom. 6, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 449)

St. Augustine--the Pharisee is condemned becauser he has no desire for further righteousness:
‎He wished, indeed, for noaddition to his own righteousness; but yet, by giving thanks to God, he confessed that all he had he had received from Him. Notwithstanding, he was not approved, both because he asked for no further food of righteousness, as if he were already filled, and because he arrogantly preferred himself to the publican, who was hungering and thirsting after righteousness. (Augustine, De pecc. merit. et remiss. 2.5.6, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 46)

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