Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Christ the King, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading 2 Samuel 5:1–3
Second Reading Colossians 1:12–20
Gospel Luke 23:35–43

St. Augustine on the "Son of [the Father's] Love" (filii dilectionis suae, τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ):
‎‎“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness.and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His own love.” (Col. 1:13) He did not say, “of His own Son.” If He had so said, He would have said it most truly, just as He did say it most truly, because He has often said it; but He says, “the Son of His own love.” Therefore He is the Son also of the Holy Spirit, if there is in that Trinity no love in God except the Holy Spirit. And if this is most absurd, it remains that the Holy Spirit is not alone therein love, but is specially so called for the reasons I have sufficiently set forth; and that the words, “Son of His own love,” mean nothing else than His own beloved Son,—the Son, in short, of His own substance. For the love in the Father, which is in His ineffably simple nature, is nothing else than His very nature and substance itself,—as we have already often said, and are not ashamed of often repeating. And hence the “Son of His love,” is none other than He who is born of His substance. (Augustine, De Trin. 15.19.37, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 220)

St. John Chrysostom on Col. 1:13:
‎The whole is of Him, the giving both of these things and those; for nowhere is any achievement of ours. “From the power of darkness,” he saith, that is, of error, the dominion of the devil. He said not “darkness,” but “power”; for it had great power over us, and held us fast. For it is grievous indeed even to be under the devil at all, but to be so “with power,” this is far more grievous. “And translated us,” he saith, “into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Not then so as to deliver man from darkness only, did He show His love toward him. A great thing indeed is it to have delivered from darkness even; but to have brought into a kingdom too, is a far greater. See then how manifold the gift, that he hath delivered us who lay in the pit; in the second place, that He hath not only delivered us, but also hath translated us into a kingdom. (Chrysostom, Hom. Col. 2, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 266)

For more on Col. 1:12-20, see also under Ordinary Time 15, Year C.

St. Augustine--the good thief and the necessity of baptism for salvation:
‎‎‎That the place of baptism is sometimes supplied by martyrdom is supported by an argument by no means trivial, which the blessed Cyprian adduces (Cyprian, Ep. 72.22) from the thief, to whom, though he was not baptized, it was yet said, “To-day shall thou be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43) On considering which, again and again, I find that not only martyrdom for the sake of Christ may supply what was wanting of baptism, but also faith and conversion of heart, if recourse may not be had to the celebration of the mystery of baptism for want of time. For neither was that thief crucified for the name of Christ, but as the reward of his own deeds; nor did he suffer because he believed, but he believed while suffering. It was shown, therefore, in the case of that thief, how great is the power, even without the visible sacrament of baptism, of what the apostle says, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:10) But the want is supplied invisibly only when the administration of baptism is prevented, not by contempt for religion, but by the necessity of the moment. (Augustine, De bapt. 4.22.30, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 460)

St. Augustine--Christ in respect to his Godhead, never withrdrew from paradise:
‎‎For when He said to the man that was expiating his crimes on the tree, and making confession unto salvation, “Today shall thou be with me in paradise,” (Lk 23:43) in respect to His human nature His own soul was on that very day to be in hell, His flesh in the sepulchre; but as respected His Godhead He was certainly also in paradise. And therefore the soul of the thief, absolved from his by-gone crimes, and already in the blessed enjoyment of His grace, although it could not be everywhere as He was, yet could on that very day be also with Him in paradise, from which He, who is always everywhere, had not withdrawn. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 111.2, NPNF1. vol. 7, pg. 413-414)

St. Gregory of Nyssa--Christ shows his universal sovereignty by declaring that the thief would join him in paradise:
‎‎When the dying thief besought Him to remember him, He showed His universal sovereignty by saying, “To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43) If then not even in the time of His Passion He is separated from His authority, where can heresy possibly discern the subordination to authority of the King of glory? (Greg. Nyss., Cont. Eun. 2.11, NPNF2, vol. 5, pg. 122)

St. Jerome--Christ saves the good thief to show that reprentance is never too late:
‎‎Christ Himself brought the robber from the cross to paradise, (Lk 23:43) and, to show that repentance is never too late, He turned a murderer’s death into a martyrdom. (Jerome, Ep. 16.1, NPNF2, vo.. 6, pg. 20)

St. Hilary of Poitiers--Hell could have no power over the divine nature of Christ which rules the world:
‎‎Could you believe that He feared the depths of the abyss, the scorching flames, or the pit of avenging punishment, when you listen to His words to the thief on the cross, Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shall thou be with Me in Paradise? (Lk 23:43) Such a nature with such power could not be shut up within the confines of the nether world, nor even subjected to fear of it. When He descended to Hades, He was never absent from Paradise (just as He was always in Heaven when He was preaching on earth as the Son of Man), but promised His martyr (i.e. the thief on the cross) a home there, and held out to him the transports of perfect happiness. Bodily fear cannot touch Him Who reaches indeed down as far as Hades, but by the power of His nature is present in all things everywhere. As little can the abyss of Hell and the terrors of death lay hold upon the nature which rules the world, boundless in the freedom of its spiritual power, confident of the raptures of Paradise; for the Lord Who was to descend to Hades, was also to dwell in Paradise. (Hilary, De Trin. 10.34, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 190)

No comments: