Monday, November 29, 2010

Second Sunday of Advent, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 11:1–10
Second Reading Romans 15:4–9
Gospel Matthew 3:1–12

St. Clement of Alexandria--the ox and bear symbolize Jew and gentile coming together:
‎‎As, then, the people was precious to the Lord, so also is the entire holy people; he also who is converted from the Gentiles, who was prophesied under the name of proselyte, along with the Jew. For rightly the Scripture says, that “the ox and the bear shall come together.” (Is 11:7) For the Jew is designated by the ox, from the animal under the yoke being reckoned clean, according to the law; for the ox both parts the hoof and chews the cud. And the Gentile is designated by the bear, which is an unclean and wild beast. And this animal brings forth a shapeless lump of flesh, which it shapes into the likeness of a beast solely by its tongue. For he who is convened from among the Gentiles is formed from a beastlike life to gentleness by the word; and, when once tamed, is made clean, just as the ox. (Clem. Alex., Strom. 6.6, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 491)

St. Ambrose on the rod and the flower:
‎‎The flower from the root is the work of the Spirit, that flower, I say, of which it was well prophesied: “A rod shall go forth from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise from his root.” (Is 11:1) The root of Jesse the patriarch is the family of the Jews, Mary is the rod, Christ the flower of Mary, Who, about to spread the good odour of faith throughout the whole world, budded forth from a virgin womb, as He Himself said: “I am the flower of the plain, a lily of the valley.” (Cant. 2:1)
‎‎39. The flower, when cut, keeps its odour, and when bruised increases it, nor if torn off does it lose it; so, too, the Lord Jesus, on the gibbet of the cross, neither failed when bruised, nor fainted when torn; and when He was cut by that piercing of the spear, being made more beautiful by the cob our of the outpoured Blood, He, as it were, grew comely again, not able in Himself to die, and breathing forth upon the dead the gift of eternal life. On this flower, then, of the royal rod the Holy Spirit rested.
‎‎40. A good rod, as some think, is the Flesh of the Lord, which, raising itself from its earthly root to heaven, bore around the whole world the sweet-smelling fruits of religion, the mysteries of the divine generation, pouring grace on the altars of heaven. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 2.5.38–41, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 119-120)

St. John Chrysostom--the Gentiles bound to glorify God for his great mercy:
‎Ver. 9. “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.”
‎But what he means is this. Those of the Jews would have had promises, even though they were unworthy. But thou hadst not this even, but wast saved from love towards man alone, even if, to put it at the lowest, they too would not have been the better for the promises, unless Christ had come. But yet that he might amalgamate (or temper, κεραση) them and not allow them to rise up against the weak, he makes mention of the promises. But of these he says that it was by mercy alone that they were saved. Hence they are the most bound to glorify God. And a glory it is to God that they be blended together, be united, praise with one mind, bear the weaker, neglect not the member that is broken off. (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 28, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 539)

St. Augustine on baptism "with fire":
‎‎Now as to John’s expression, “with fire,” though tribulation also might be understood, which believers were to suffer for the name of Christ; yet may we reasonably think that the same Holy Spirit is signified also under the name of “fire.” Wherefore when He came it is said, “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” (Acts 2:3) (Augustine, Serm. 71.12.19, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 324)

St. Augustine--God raises up children of Abraham from stones:
‎‎And how did John show that Christ was sent to all nations? When the Jews came to him to be baptized, that they might not pride themselves on the name of Abraham, he said to them, “O generation of vipers, who has proclaimed to you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance;” that is, be humble; for he was speaking to proud people. But whereof were they proud? Of their descent according to the flesh, not of the fruit of imitating their father Abraham. What said he to them? “Say not, We have Abraham for our father: for God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” (Mt 3:9) Meaning by stones all nations, not on account of their durable strength, as in the case of that stone which the builders rejected, but on account of their stupidity and their foolish insensibility, because they had become like the things which they were accustomed to worship: for they worshipped senseless images, themselves equally senseless. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 9.16, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 68)

No comments: