Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary
First Reading Deuteronomy 11:18, 26–28, 32
Second Reading Romans 3:21–25, 28
Gospel Matthew 7:21–27

St. Augustine on the righteousness of God witnessed by the law and prophets:
‎‎But I ask your attention, O man, to what follows. “But now the righteousness of God,” says he, “without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” (Rom 3:21) Does this then sound a light thing in deaf ears? He says, “The righteousness of God is manifested.” Now this righteousness they are ignorant of, who wish to establish one of their own; they will not submit themselves to it. (Rom 10:3) His words are, “The righteousness of God is manifested:” he does not say, the righteousness of man, or the righteousness of his own will, but the “righteousness of God,”—not that whereby He is Himself righteous, but that with which He endows man when He justifies the ungodly. This is witnessed by the law and the prophets; in other words, the law and the prophets each afford it testimony. The law, indeed, by issuing its commands and threats, and by justifying no man, sufficiently shows that it is by God’s gift, through the help of the Spirit, that a man is justified; and the prophets, because it was what they predicted that Christ at His coming accomplished. (Augustine, De spir. et litt. 9.15, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 88-89)

St. John Chrysostom on Romans 3:24–25:
‎‎See by how many proofs he makes good what was said. First, from the worthiness of the person, for it is not a man who doeth these things, that He should be too weak for it, but God all-powerful. For it is to God, he says, that the righteousness belongs. Again, from the Law and the Prophets. For you need not be afraid at hearing the “without the Law,” inasmuch as the Law itself approves this. Thirdly, from the sacrifices under the old dispensation. For it was on this ground that he said, “In His blood,” to call to their minds those sheep and calves. For if the sacrifices of things without reason, he means, cleared from sin, much more would this blood. And he does not say barely λυτρωσεως, but απολυτρωσεως, entire redemption, to show that we should come no more into such slavery. And for this same reason he calls it a propitiation, to show that if the type had such force, much more would the reality display the same. But to show again that it was no novel thing or recent, he says, “fore-ordained” (Auth. Version marg.); and by saying God “fore-ordained,” and showing that the good deed is the Father’s, he showeth it to be the Son’s also. For the Father “fore-ordained,” but Christ in His own blood wrought the whole aright. (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 7, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 377-378)

St. Cyprian of Carthage--how can a man say that he believes in Christ, who does not do what Christ commands?
Finally, these persons He calls strong and stedfast; these He declares to be founded in robust security upon the rock, established with immoveable and unshaken firmness, in opposition to all the tempests and hurricanes of the world. "Whosoever," says He, "heareth my words, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, that built his house upon a rock: the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." (Mt 7:24) We ought therefore to stand fast on His words, to learn and do whatever He both taught and did. But how can a man say that he believes in Christ, who does not do what Christ commanded him to do? Or whence shall he attain to the reward of faith, who will not keep the faith of the commandment? He must of necessity waver and wander, and, caught away by a spirit of error, like dust which is shaken by the wind, be blown about; and he will make no advance in his walk towards salvation, because he does not keep the truth of the way of salvation. (Cyprian, De unit. eccl. 2, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 421-422)

St. Augustine--in what sense can Christ, who knows all things, say "I know you not":
As He will also say at last to such as are placed on His left hand at the day of judgment: "I know you not." (Mt 7:23) Now what is that which He knows not, who knows all things, both good and evil, in man? But what is the meaning of the words, "I know you not," unless it be that you are now such as I never made you? Precisely as that passage runs, which is spoken of the Lord Jesus Christ, that "He knew no sin." (2 Co 5:21) How knew it not, except that He had never made it? And, therefore, how is to be understood the passage, "The ways which are on the right hand the Lord knoweth," except in the sense that He made those ways Himself,—even "the paths of the righteous," which no doubt are "those good works that God," as the apostle tells us, "hath before ordained that we should walk in them"? (

 St. Augustine--how is Mt 7:21 to be reconciled with 1 Co 12:3:
But the question may fairly be started, how with this sentence the statement of the apostle is to be reconciled, where he says, "No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost:" (1 Co 12:3) for neither can we say that any who have the Holy Spirit will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, if they persevere onwards to the end; nor can we affirm that those who say, "Lord, Lord," and yet do not enter into the kingdom of heaven, have the Holy Spirit. How then does no one say "that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost," unless it is because the apostle has used the word "say" here in a strict and proper sense, so that it implies the will and understanding of him who says? But the Lord has used the word which He employs in a general sense: "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." For he also who neither wishes nor understands what he says, seems to say it; but he properly says it, who gives expression to his will and mind by the sound of his voice: just as, a little before, what is called "joy" among the fruits of the Spirit is called so in a strict and proper sense, not in the way in which the same apostle elsewhere uses the expression, "Rejoiceth not in iniquity:" (1 Co 13:6) as if any one could rejoice in iniquity: for that transport of a mind making confused and boisterous demonstrations of joy is not joy; for this latter is possessed by the good alone. Hence those also seem to say it, who neither perceive with the understanding nor engage with the deliberate consent of the will in this which they utter, but utter it with the voice merely; and after this manner the Lord says, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." But truly and properly those parties say it whose utterance in speech really represents their will and intention; and it is in accordance with this signification that the apostle has said, "No one can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." (Augustine, De serm. Dom. in mont. 2.25.83, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 61-62)

 St. John Chrysostom--the wicked labor in vain:
‎‎“And every one,” saith He, “that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.” (Mt 7:26)
‎‎And well did He call this man “foolish”: for what can be more senseless than one building a house on the sand, and while he submits to the labor, depriving himself of the fruit and refreshment, and instead thereof undergoing punishment? For that they too, who follow after wickedness, do labor, is surely manifest to every one: since both the extortioner, and the adulterer, and the false accuser, toil and weary themselves much to bring their wickedness to effect; but so far from reaping any profit from these their labors, they rather undergo great loss. For Paul too intimated this when he said, “He that soweth to his flesh, shall of his flesh reap corruption.” (Gal 6:8) To this man are they like also, who build on the sand; as those that are given up to fornication, to wantonness, to drunkenness, to anger, to all the other things. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 24.4, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 170)

John Cassian--the saint differs from the sinner not in that he is not tempted, but in that his foundation is secure:
‎‎When then anyone is overcome by a wrong, and blazes up in a fire of anger, we should not hold that the bitterness of the insult offered to him is the cause of his sin, but rather the manifestation of secret weakness, in accordance with the parable of our Lord and Saviour which He spoke about the two houses, (Mt 7:24) one of which was founded upon a rock, and the other upon the sand, on both of which He says that the tempest of rain and waters and storm beat equally: but that one which was founded on the solid rock felt no harm at all from the violence of the shock, while that which was built on the shifting and moving sand at once collapsed. And it certainly appears that it fell, not because it was struck by the rush of the storms and torrents. but because it was imprudently built upon the sand. For a saint does not differ from a sinner in this, that he is not himself tempted in the same way, but because he is not worsted even by a great assault, while the other is overcome even by a slight temptation. (Cassian, Collat. 3.18.13, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 485) 
Eph 2:10) Whereas the left-hand ways—those perverse paths of the unrighteous—He truly knows nothing of, because He never made them for man, but man made them for himself. (Augustine, Ep. 215.6, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 440)

No comments: