Monday, October 25, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Wisdom of Solomon 11:22–12:2
Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 1:11–2:2
Gospel Luke 19:1–10

St. Clement of Alexandria--God cannot hate what he wills to exist:
‎‎‎“For there is nothing which the Lord hates.” (Wisdom 11:24) For assuredly He does not hate anything, and yet wish that which He hates to exist Nor does He wish anything not to exist, and yet become the cause of existence to that which He wishes not to exist. Nor does He wish anything not to exist which yet exists. If, then, the Word hates anything, He does not wish it to exist. But nothing exists, the cause of whose existence is not supplied by God. Nothing, then, is hated by God, nor yet by the Word. For both are one—that is, God. For He has said, “In the beginning the Word was in God, and the Word was God.” (Jn 1:1) If then He hates none of the things which He has made, it follows that He loves them. Much more than the rest, and with reason, will He love man, the noblest of all objects created by Him, and a God-loving being. Therefore God is loving; consequently the Word is loving. (Clem. Alex., Paed. 1.8, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 225)

St. Augustine--God loves what he has created in us, but hates our sins, which are our own:
‎‎He, therefore. had love toward us even when we were practising enmity against Him and working iniquity; and yet to Him it is said with perfect truth, “Thou hatest, O Lord, all workers of iniquity.” (Ps. 5:5) Accordingly, in a wonderful and divine manner, even when He hated us, He loved us; for He hated us, in so far as we were not what He Himself had made; and because our own iniquity had not in every part consumed His work, He knew at once both how, in each of us, to hate what we had done, and to love what He had done. And this, indeed, may be understood in the case of all regarding Him to whom it is truly said, “Thou hatest nothing that Thou hast made.” (Wisdom 11:25) For He would never have wished anything that He hated to exist, nor would aught that the Omnipotent had not wished exist at all, were it not that in what He hated there was also something that He loved. For He justly hateth and reprobateth vice as utterly repugnant to the principle of His procedure, yet He loveth even in the persons of the vitiated what is susceptible either of His own beneficence through healing, or of His judgment by condemnation. In this way God at the same time hateth nothing of what He has made; for as the Creator of natures, and not of vices, it was not He who made the evil that He hateth; and of these same evils, all is good that He really doeth, either by mercifully healing them, or by judicially regulating them. (Augustine, Tr. in ev. Joan. 110.6, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 411)

St. John Chrysostom on how Christ is glorified in us and we in him:
‎How is He glorified in us? Because we prefer nothing before Him. How are we glorified in Him? Because we have received power from Him, so that we do not at all yield to the evils that are brought upon us. For when temptation happens, at the same time God is glorified, and we too. For they glorify Him, because He has so nerved us; they admire us, because we have rendered ourselves worthy. And all these things are done by the grace of God. (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Thess. 3, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 385)

St. Cyprian of Carthage--they are children of Abraham who give alms like Zacchaeus:
‎‎In fine, He calls those the children of Abraham whom He sees to be laborious in aiding and nourishing the poor. For when Zacchaeus said, “Behold, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have done any wrong to any man, I restore fourfold,” Jesus answered and said, “That salvation has this day come to this house, for that he also is a son of Abraham.” (Lk 19:8, 9) For if Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, certainly he who gives alms according to God’s precept believes in God, and he who has the truth of faith maintains the fear of God; moreover, he who maintains the fear of God considers God in showing mercy to the poor. (Cyprian, De op. et eleem. 8, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 478)

St. Bede the Venerable--Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham because he imitates his faith:
Zacchaeus is called the son of Abraham, not because he was born of Abraham’s seed, but because he imitates his faith, that as Abraham left his country and his father’s house, so he abandoned all his goods in giving them to the poor. And He well says, “He also,” to declare that not only those who had lived justly, but those who are raised up from a life of injustice, belong to the sons of promise. (ad loc. in Cat. Aur. 3.2, pg. 627)

St. Gregory the Great--those who, like Zacchaeus chose what is foolish in the eyes of the world contemplate most closely the wisdom of God:
Or because the sycamore is from its name called the foolish fig, the little Zacchaeus gets up into the sycamore and sees the Lord, for they who humbly choose the foolish things of this world are those who contemplate most closely the wisdom of God. For what is more foolish in this world than not to seek for what is lost, to give our possessions to robbers, to return not injury for injury? However, by this wise foolishness, the wisdom of God is seen, not yet really as it is, but by the light of contemplation. (Moral. 27.46 in Cat. Aur. 3.2, pg. 629)

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