Monday, October 4, 2010

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

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading 2 Kings 5:14–17
Second Reading 2 Timothy 2:8–13
Gospel Luke 17:11–19

St. Irenaeus--the cleansing of Naaman prefigures our cleansing from sin in baptism:
‎‎“And dipped himself,” says [the Scripture], “seven times in Jordan.” (2 Kgs 5:14) It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [it served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: “Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Jn 3:5) (Irenaeus, Fragments, 34, ANF, vol. 1, pg. 574)

St. John Chrysostom--only cowardice and unbelief can bind our tongues from proclaiming the Word:
‎“But the word of God is not bound.” That is, if we were soldiers of this world, and waged an earthly warfare, the chains that confine our hands would avail. But now God has made us such that nothing can subdue us. For our hands are bound, but not our tongue, since nothing can bind the tongue but cowardice and unbelief alone; and where these are not, though you fasten chains upon us, the preaching of the Gospel is not bound. (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Tim. 4, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 489)

St. John Chrysystom--we die with Christ in baptism and in our sufferings:
‎‎But how are we “dead with Him”? This death he means both of that in the Laver, and that in sufferings. For he says, “Bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor. iv. 10); and, “We are buried with Him by baptism into death” (Rom. vi. 4); and, “Our old man is crucified with Him”; and, “We have been planted together in the likeness of His death.” (Rom. vi. 5, Rom. 6.) But he also speaks here of death by trials: and that more especially, for he was also suffering trials when he wrote it. And this is what he says, “If we have suffered death on His account, shall we not live on His account? This is not to be doubted. ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him,’ ” not absolutely, we shall reign, but “if we suffer,” showing that it is not enough to die once, (the blessed man himself died daily,) but there was need of much patient endurance; and especially Timothy had need of it. For tell me not, he says, of your first sufferings, but that you continue to suffer. (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Tim. 5, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 492)

Theophylact on the ten lepers:
We may gather from this that a man is not one whit hindered from pleasing God because he comes from a cursed race, only let him bear in his heart an honest purpose. Further, let not him that is born of saints boast himself, for the nine who were Israelites were ungrateful; and hence it follows, And Jesus answering him said. Were there not ten cleansed? (Theophylact in Cat. Aur. 3.587)

St. Augustine--the Old Testament priesthood prefigures the priesthood of the Church:
Now we find that of those upon whom our Lord bestowed bodily mercies, not one did He send to the priests, save the lepers, for the Jewish priesthood was a figure of that priesthood which is in the Church. All vices our Lord corrects and heals by His own power working inwardly in the conscience, but the teaching of infusion by means of the Sacrament, or of catechizing by word of mouth, was assigned to the Church. (Augustine, de Quest. Ev. 2.40 in Cat. Aur. 3. 588)

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