Monday, January 31, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Presentation of the Lord

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Malachi 3:1–4
Second Reading Hebrews 2:14–18
Gospel Luke 2:22–40 or Luke 2:22–32

St. Augustine on Mal 3:1, 2:
‎‎Nor is it to be wondered at that Christ Jesus is called the Angel of the Almighty God. For just as He is called a servant on account of the form of a servant in which He came to men, so He is called an angel on account of the evangel which He proclaimed to men. For if we interpret these Greek words, evangel is “good news,” and angel is “messenger.” Again he says of Him, “Behold I will send mine angel, and He will look out the way before my face: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into His temple, even the Angel of the testament, whom ye desire. Behold, He cometh, saith the Lord Almighty, and who shall abide the day of His entry, or who shall stand at His appearing?” (Mal 3:1, 2) In this place he has foretold both the first and second advent of Christ: the first, to wit, of which he says, “And He shall come suddenly into His temple;” that is, into His flesh, of which He said in the Gospel, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” (Jn 2:19) And of the second advent he says, “Behold, He cometh, saith the Lord Almighty, and who shall abide the day of His entry, or who shall stand at His appearing?” (Augustine, De civ. Dei 18.35.3, NPNF1, vol. 2, pg. 381)

St. Augustine--the death of the body came about through the instigation of the devil:
‎‎Hence the Lord Himself willed to die, “in order that,” as it is written of Him, “through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:14) From this passage it is shown with sufficient clearness that even the death of the body came about by the instigation and work of the devil,— in a word, from the sin which he persuaded man to commit; nor is there any other reason why he should be said in strictness of truth to hold the power of death. (Augustine, De pecc. merit. et remiss. 2.31.51, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 65)

St. John Chrysostom--Christ used the devil's own strongest weapon, death, to overcome him:
‎‎Next he sets down also the cause of the economy. “That through death,” he says, “He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
‎‎Here he points out the wonder, that by what the devil prevailed, by that was he overcome, and the very thing which was his strong weapon against the world, [namely], Death, by this Christ smote him. In this he exhibits the greatness of the conqueror’s power. Dost thou see how great good death hath wrought? (Chrysostom, Hom. Heb. 4.6, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 384)

St. Methodius of Olympus--Simeon and Anna represent the peoples of the Old and New Covenants:
‎When, then, to these sacred rites, prophecy and the priesthood had been jointly called, and that pair of just ones elected of God—Simeon, I mean, and Anna, bearing in themselves most evidently the images of both peoples—had taken their station by the side of that glorious and virginal throne,—for by the old man was represented the people of Israel, and the law now waxing old; whilst the widow represents the Church of the Gentiles, which had been up to this point a widow,—the old man, indeed, as personating the law, seeks dismissal; but the widow, as personating the Church, brought her joyous confession of faith100 and spake of Him to all that looked for redemption in Jerusalem, even as the things that were spoken of both have been appositely and excellently recorded, and quite in harmony with the sacred festival. (Methodius of Olympus, Oration Concerning Simeon and Anna, ANF, vol. 6, pg. 391)

St. Jerome on prophecy of Simeon:
‎‎The righteous Simeon says in the gospel: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many,” (Lk 2:34) for the fall, that is, of sinners and for the rising again of the penitent. (Jerome, Ep. 122.3, NPNF2, vol. 6, pg. 228)

St. John Damascene on the sword that pierced Mary's soul:
‎‎But this blessed woman, who was deemed worthy of gifts that are supernatural, suffered those pains, which she escaped at the birth, in the hour of the passion, enduring from motherly sympathy the rending of the bowels, and when she beheld Him, Whom she knew to be God by the manner of His generation, killed as a malefactor, her thoughts pierced her as a sword, and this is the meaning of this verse: Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own saul also (Lk 2:35). But the joy of the resurrection transforms the pain, proclaiming Him, Who died in the flesh, to be God. (John Damascene, De Fide Orth. 4.14, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 86)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12–13
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:26–31
Gospel Matthew 5:1–12a

St. Augustine--those who hunger and thirst for righteous, thirst for Christ, who is made unto us righteousness:
‎‎‎Lastly, in the precept it is written, “Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness;” but in the reward, “Because they shall be filled.” (Mt 5:6)Whence, I ask, shall they be filled, except with what they hunger and thirst after? Who, then, is so abhorrent, not only from the divine perception, but also from the human perception, as to say that in man there can be such righteousness while he is hungering and thirsting for it, as there will be when he shall be filled with it? But when we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, if the faith of Christ is watchful in us, what is it to be believed that we are hungering and thirsting for, save Christ?“For He is made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that, as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Co 1:30, 31) And because we only believe on Him not seeing Him, therefore we thirst and hunger after righteousness. For as long as we are in the body, we wander from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by appearance. But when we shall see Him, and attain certainly to the appearance, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable; and then we shall be filled with righteousness, since now we say to Him with pious longing, “I shall be satisfied when Thy glory shall be manifested.” (Ps 17:15) (Augustine, Contra duas epist. Pelag. 3.7.17, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 410)

St. John Chrysostom on God's passing over the mighty and noble:
‎“Not many mighty, not many noble;” for these also are filled with pride. And nothing is so useless towards an accurate knowledge of God as arrogance, and being nailed down (προσηλωσθαι) to wealth: for these dispose a man to admire things present, and make no account of the future; and they stop up the ears through the multitude of cares: but “the foolish things of the world God chose:” which thing is the person one meets in the market more of a philosopher than themselves. Wherefore also he said himself, “That He might put to shame the wise.” And not in this instance alone hath he done this, also in the case of the other advantages of life. For, to proceed, “the weak sons only, but needy also, and contemptible and obscure He called, that He might humble those who were in high places. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Cor. 5.2, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 23)

St. Gregory of Nyssa on the humble backgrounds of the apostles called by Christ:
‎‎The prophet Amos was a goat-herd; Peter was a fisherman, and his brother Andrew followed the same employment; so too was the sublime John; Paul was a tent-maker, Matthew a publican, and the rest of the Apostles in the same way—not consuls, generals, prefects, or distinguished in rhetoric and philosophy, but poor, and of none of the learned professions, but starting from the more humble occupations of life: and yet for all that their voice went out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. “Consider your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world.” (1 Co 1:26, 27) Perhaps even now it is thought something foolish, as things appear to men, when one is not able to do much from poverty, or is slighted because of meanness of extraction5, not of character. But who knows whether the horn of anointing is not poured out by grace upon such an one, even though he be less than the lofty and more illustrious? Which was mere to the interest of the Church at Rome, that it should at its commencement be presided over by some high-born and pompous senator, or by the fisherman Peter, who had none of this world’s advantages to attract men to him6? What house had he, what slaves, what property ministering luxury, by wealth constantly flowing in? But that stranger, without a table, without a roof over his head, was richer than those who have all things, because through having nothing he had God wholly. (Gregory of Nyssa, Ep. 13, NPNF2, vol. 5, pg. 536)

St. Clement of Alexandria on the Beatitudes:
‎‎“Blessed, then, are the peacemakers,” (Mt 5:9) who have subdued and tamed the law which wars against the disposition of the mind, the menaces of anger, and the baits of lust, and the other passions which war against the reason; who, having lived in the knowledge both of good works and true reason, shall be reinstated in adoption, Which is dearer. It follows that the perfect peacemaking is that which keeps unchanged in all circumstances what is peaceful; calls Providence holy and good; and has its being in the knowledge of divine and human affairs, by which it deems the opposites that are in the world to be the fairest harmony of creation. They also are peacemakers, who teach those who war against the stratagems of sin to have recourse to faith and peace. And it is the sum of all virtue, in my opinion, when the Lord teaches us that for love to God we must gnostically despise death. “Blessed are they,” says He, “who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for they shall be called the sons of God; ” (Mt 5:10) or, as some of those who transpose the Gospels say, “Blessed are they who are persecuted by righteousness, for they shall be perfect.” And, “Blessed are they who are persecuted for my sake; for they shall have a place where they shall not be persecuted.” And, “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, when they shall separate you, when they shall cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake; ” (Lk 6:22) if we do not detest our persecutors, and undergo punishments at their hands, not hating them under the idea that we have been put to trial more tardily than we looked for; but knowing this also, that every instance of trial is an occasion for testifying. (Clement of Alexandria, Strom. 4.6, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 416)

St. Augustine on seeing God:
‎‎And let us hasten on to that good which has no motion in space or advancement in time, from which all natures in space and time receive their sensible being and their form. To see this good let us purify our heart by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Mt 5:8) For the eyes needed in order to see this good are not those with which we see the light spread through space, which has part in one place and part in another, instead of being all in every place. The sight and the discernment we are to purify is that by which we see, as far as is allowed in this life, what is just, what is pious, what is the beauty of wisdom. He who sees these things,values them far above the fullness of all regions in space, and finds that the vision of these things requires not the extension of his perception through distances in space, but its invigoration by an immaterial influence. (Augustine, Contra fund. 42.48, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 150)

St. Augustine--the Christian mourns the loss of the worldly things he turned from, but is comforted by the Paraclete:
‎‎ “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Mourning is sorrow arising from the loss of things held dear; but those who are converted to God lose those things which they were accustomed to embrace as dear in this world: for they do not rejoice in those things in which they formerly rejoiced; and until the love of eternal things be in them, they are wounded by some measure of grief. Therefore they will be comforted by the Holy Spirit, who on this account chiefly is called the Paraclete, i.e. the Comforter, in order that, while losing the temporal joy, they may enjoy to the full that which is eternal. (Augustine, De serm. Dom. in mont. 1.2.5, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 5)

St. John Chrysostom on poverty in spirit:
‎What is meant by “the poor in spirit?” The humble and contrite in mind. For by “spirit” He hath here designated the soul, and the faculty of choice. That is, since many are humble not willingly, but compelled by stress of circumstances; letting these pass (for this were no matter of praise), He blesses them first, who by choice humble and contract themselves. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 15.2, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 92)

St. Ambrose--the Lord promises a future reward:
‎‎Is not he unjust who gives the reward before the end of the contest? Therefore the Lord says in the Gospel: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:3) He said not: “Blessed are the rich,” but “the poor.” By the divine judgment blessedness begins there whence human misery is supposed to spring. “Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall be filled; Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted; Blessed are the merciful, for God will have mercy on them; Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God; Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you for righteousness’ sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for plentiful is your reward in heaven.” (Mt 5:4) A reward future and not present,—in heaven, not on earth,—has He promised shall be given. What further dost thou expect? What further is due? Why dost thou demand the crown with so much haste, before thou dost conquer? Why dost thou desire to shake off the dust and to rest? Why dost thou long to sit at the feast before the course is finished? As yet the people are looking on, the athletes are in the arena, and thou—dost thou already look for ease? Ambrose, De offic. 1.16.59, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 11)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 8:23–9:3
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:10–14, 17
Gospel Matthew 4:12–23 or Matthew 4:12–17

St. Augustine--the validity of baptism does not depend on the worthiness of the man who gives it, because it is the baptism of Christ:
‎‎And so Paul gives thanks to God that he baptized none of those men who, as though forgetting in whose name they had been baptized, were for dividing themselves into factions under the names of different individuals. (1 Cor 1:12-15) For when baptism is as valid at the hands of a contemptible man as it was when given by an apostle, it is recognized as the baptism neither of this man nor of that, but of Christ. (Augustine, De bapt. 5.13.15, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 469)

St. Augustine--the apostles baptize not with their own baptism, but as servants, with the baptism of Christ:
‎‎But the Lord Jesus Christ could, if He wished, have given power to one of His servants to give a baptism of his own, as it were, in His stead, and have transferred from Himself the power of baptizing, and assigned it to one of His servants, and have given the same power to the baptism transferred to the servant as it had when bestowed by the Lord. This He would not do, in order that the hope of the baptized might be in him by whom they acknowledged themselves to have been baptized. He would not, therefore, that the servant should place his hope in the servant. And therefore the apostle exclaimed, when he saw men wishing to place their hope in himself, “Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Co 1:13) Paul then baptized as a servant, not as the power itself; but the Lord baptized as the power. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 5.7, NPNF1, vol. 7. pg. 33)

St. John Chrysostom--the greatness of baptism is the greatness of the Him who is invoked, not of him who baptizes:
‎“I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius.” “Why are you elate at having baptized, when I for my part even give thanks that I have not done so!” Thus saying, by a kind of divine art (οιχονομιχπς) he does away with their swelling pride upon this point; not with the efficacy of the baptism, (God forbid,) but with the folly of those who were puffed up at having been baptizers: first, by showing that the Gift is not theirs; and, secondly, by thanking God therefore. For Baptism truly is a great thing: but its greatness is not the work of the person baptizing, but of Him who is invoked in the Baptism: since to baptize is nothing as regards man’s labor, but is much less than preaching the Gospel. Yea, again I say, great indeed is Baptism, and without baptism it is impossible to obtain the kingdom. Still a man of no singular excellence is able to baptize, but to preach the Gospel there is need of great labor. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Cor. 3.6, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 12)

St. John Chrysostom--Christ chose unlearned men as apostles that the Gospel might not be harmed by vain glory or arrogance:
‎But here at the very outset he gives a severe blow, saying, “Lest the Cross of Christ be made void.” Why then pride thyself on a thing which ought to make thee hide thy face? Since, if this wisdom is at war with the Cross and fights with the Gospel, it is not meet to boast about it, but to retire with shame. For this was the cause why the Apostles were not wise; not through any weakness of the Gift, but lest the Gospel preached suffer harm. The sort of people therefore above mentioned were not those employed in advocating the Word: rather they were among its defamers. The unlearned men were the establishers of it. This was able to check vain glory, this to repress arrogance, this to enforce moderation. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Cor. 3.7, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 13)

St. John Chrysostom on why Christ began his preaching after the imprisonment of John the Baptist:
‎‎And moreover it was necessary that what concerned Him should be spoken by another first and not by Himself. For if even after both testimonies and demonstrations so many and so great, they sad, “Thou bearest record of Thyself, Thy record is not true:” (Jn 8:13) had He, without John’s saying anything, come into the midst, and first borne record Himself; what would they not have said? For this cause, neither did He preach before John, nor did He work miracles, until John was cast into prison; lest in this way the multitude should be divided. Therefore also John did no miracle at all; that by this means also might give over the multitude to Jesus, His miracles drawing them unto Him. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 14.2, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 87)

St. John Chrysostom on the response in faith of the apostles to the call of Christ:
‎But mark both their faith, and their obedience. For though they were in the midst of their work (and ye know how greedy a thing fishing is), when they heard His command. they delayed not, they procrastinated not, they said not, “let us return home, and converse with our kinsfolk,” but “they forsook all and followed,” even as Elisha did to Elijah”13 Because such is the obedience which Christ seeks of us, as that we delay not even a moment of time, though something absolutely most needful should vehemently press on us. Wherefore also when some other had come unto Him, and was asking leave to bury his own father,14 not even this did He permit him to do: to signify that before all we ought to esteem the following of Himself.
‎But if thou should say, “the promise is very great;” even for this do I most admire them, for that when they had not as yet seen any sign, they believed in so great a reach of promise, and accounted all but second to that attendance. And this, because they believed that by what words they were caught, by the same they would be able to catch others also.
‎To these, then, such was His promise: but to James and John He sixth no such thing. For the obedience of those that had gone before had by this time paved the way for these. And besides they had also heard many things before concerning Him. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 14.3, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 88)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 49:3, 5–6
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:1–3
Gospel John 1:29–34

Origen--if Christ had not become a servant, he could not have been a light to the gentiles:
‎‎Again, let any one consider how Jesus was to His disciples, not as He who sits at meat, but as He who serves, and how though the Son of God He took on Him the form of a servant for the sake of the freedom of those who were enslaved in sin, and he will be at no loss to account for the Father’s saying to Him: (Is 49:3, 6) “Thou art My servant,” and a little further on: “It is a great thing that thou shouldst be called My servant.” For we do not hesitate to say that the goodness of Christ appears in a greater and more divine light, and more according to the image of the Father, because (Phil 2:6, 8) “He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” than if He had judged it a thing to be grasped to be equal with God, and had shrunk from becoming a servant for the salvation of the world. Hence He says, (Is 49:5, 6) desiring to teach us that in accepting this state of servitude He had received a great gift from His Father: “And My God shall be My strength. And He said to Me, It is a great thing for Thee to be called My servant.” For if He had not become a servant, He would not have raised up the tribes of Jacob, nor have turned the heart of the diaspora of Israel, and neither would He have become a light of the Gentiles to be for salvation to the ends of the earth. (Origen, Comm. Jo. 1.37, ANF, vol. 10, pg. 316)

St. John Chrysostom--true grace and peace come from God alone:
‎‎Now if our peace be of grace, why hast thou high thoughts? Why art Thou so puffed up, being saved by grace? And if thou hast peace with God, why wish to assign thyself to others? since this is what separation comes to. For what if you be at “peace” with this man, and with the other even find “grace?” My prayer is that both these may be yours from God; both from Him I say, and towards Him. For neither do they abide secure except they enjoy the influence from above; nor unless God be their object will they aught avail you: for it profiteth us nothing, though we be peaceful towards all men, if we be at war with God; even as it is no harm to us, although by all men we are held as enemies, if with God we are at peace. And again it is no gain to us, if all men approve, and the Lord be offended; neither is there any danger, though all shun and hate us, if with God we have acceptance and love. For that which is verily grace, and verily peace, cometh of God, since he who finds grace in God’s sight, though he suffer ten thousand horrors, feareth no one. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Cor. 1.3, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 4)

Origen--the Lamb of God takes away sin till sin be taken away from the whole world:
Since, then, He takes away sin until every enemy shall be destroyed and death last of all, in order that the whole world may be free from sin, therefore John points to Him and says: (Jn 1:29) “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” It is not said that He will take it away in the future, nor that He is at present taking it, nor that He has taken it, but is not taking it away now. His taking away sin is still going on, He is taking it away from every individual in the world, till sin be taken away from the whole world, and the Saviour deliver the kingdom prepared and completed to the Father, a kingdom in which no sin is left at all, and which, therefore, is ready to accept the Father as its king, and which on the other hand is waiting to receive all God has to bestow, fully, and in every part, at that time when the saying (1 Co 5:28) is fulfilled, “That God may be all in all.” (Origen, Comm. Jo. 1.37, ANF, vol. 10, pg. 317)

St. Augustine explains John's statement that he "knew Him not":
‎‎Again, the account of the dove given in the Gospel according to John does not mention the time at which the incident happened, but contains a statement of the words of John the Baptist as reporting what he saw. In this section, the question rises as to how it is said, “And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.” (Jn 1:33) For if he came to I know Him only at the time when he saw the dove descending upon Him, the inquiry is raised as to how he could have said to Him, as He came to be baptized, “I ought rather to be baptized of Thee.” (Mt 3:14) For the Baptist addressed Him thus before the dove descended. From this, however, it is evident that, although he did know Him [in a certain sense] before this time,—for he even leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary visited Elisabeth, (Lk 1:41) —there was yet something which was not known to him up to this time, and which he learned by the descending of the dove,—namely, the fact that He baptized in the Holy Spirit by a certain divine power proper to Himself; so that no man who received this baptism from God, even although he baptized some, should be able to say that that which he imparted was his own, or that the Holy Spirit was given by him. (Augustine, De consens. Ev. 2.15.32, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 120)

St. Ambrose--the Spirit descends to bear witness to the Son, to perfect the laver of baptism and to show that his working is one with the Father and the Son:
‎‎And has not God the Father been able to teach you, Who says: “Upon Whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding upon Him, this is He Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit”? (Jn 1:33) For the Spirit descended in the likeness of a dove, (Lk 3:22) that He might both bear witness to His wisdom, and perfect the sacrament of the spiritual laver, and show that His working is one with that of the Father and the Son. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 3.14.98, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 149)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Baptism of the Lord, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 42:1–4, 6–7
Second Reading Acts 10:34–38
Gospel Matthew 3:13–17

For the First and Second Readings, see Baptism of the Lord, Year C.

St. Augustine--Jesus was baptized to consecrate the path of humilty:
‎‎Nor do I conceive that the function of baptizing was assigned to John, so that it should be called John’s baptism, for any other reason except that the Lord Himself, who had appointed it, in not disdaining to receive the baptism of His servant, (Mt 3:6, 13) might consecrate the path of humility, and show most plainly by such an action how high a value was to be placed on His own baptism, with which He Himself was afterwards to baptize. For He saw, like an excellent physician of eternal salvation, that overweening pride would be found in some, who, having made such progress in the understanding of the truth and in uprightness of character that they would not hesitate to place themselves, both in life and knowledge, above many that were baptized, would think it was unnecessary for them to be baptized, since they felt that they had attained a frame of mind to which many that were baptized were still only endeavoring to raise themselves. (Augustine, De bapt. 4.22.30, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 461)

St. Augustine--the Trinity is made manifest at Jesus' baptism:
‎‎Here then we have the Trinity in a certain sort distinguished. The Father in the Voice,—the Son in the Man,—the Holy Spirit in the Dove. It was only needful just to mention this, for most obvious is it to see. For the notice of the Trinity is here conveyed to us plainly and without leaving room for doubt or hesitation. For the Lord Christ Himself coming in the form of a servant to John, is doubtlessly the Son: for it cannot be said that it was the Father, or the Holy Spirit. “Jesus,” it is said, “cometh;” (Mt 3:13) that is, the Son of God. And who hath any doubt about the Dove? or who saith, “What is the Dove?” when the Gospel itself most plainly testifieth, “The Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove.” (Mt 3:16) And in like manner as to that voice there can be no doubt that it is the Father’s, when He saith, “Thou art My Son.” (Mt 3:17, Mk 1:13) Thus then we have the Trinity distinguished. (Augustine, Serm. 52.11, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 259)

St. John Chrysostom--Christ's submission to baptism follows from his becoming man:
‎With the servants the Lord, with the criminals the Judge, cometh to be baptized. But be not thou troubled; for in these humiliations His exaltation doth most shine forth. For He who vouchsafed to be borne so long in a Virgin’s womb, and to come forth thence with our nature, and to be smitten with rods, and crucified, and to suffer all the rest which He suffered;—why marvellest thou if He vouchsafed also to be baptized, and to come with the rest to His servant. For the amazement lay in that one thing, that being God, He would be made Man; but the rest afar this all follows in course of reason. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 12.1, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 75)

St. John Chrysostom on the Holy Spirit descending like a dove:
‎‎But why in the fashion of a dove? Gentle is that creature, and pure. Forasmuch then as the Spirit too is “a Spirit of meekness,” (Gal 6:1) He therefore appears in this sort. And besides, He is reminding us of an ancient history. For so, when once a common shipwreck had overtaken the whole world, and our race was in danger of perishing, this creature appeared, and indicated the deliverance from the tempest, and bearing an olive branch, (Gen 8) published the good tidings of the common calm of the whole world; all which was a type of the things to come. For in fact the condition of men was then much worse, and they deserved a much sorer punishment. To prevent thy despairing, therefore, He reminds thee of that history. Because then also, when things were desperate, there was a sort of deliverance and reformation; but then by punishment, now, on the contrary, by grace and an unspeakable gift. (2 Cor 9:15)Therefore the dove also appears, not bearing an olive branch, but pointing out to us our Deliverer from all evils, and suggesting the gracious hopes. For not from out of an ark doth she lead one man only, but the whole world she leads up into heaven at her appearing, and instead of a branch of peace from an olive, she conveys the adoption to all the world’s offspring in common. (Chryostom, Hom. Mt. 12.3, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 77)