Monday, September 26, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading  Isaiah 5:1–7
Second Reading  Philippians 4:6–9
Gospel  Matthew 21:33–43


For the second reading, see also Advent 3, Year C.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem--the field that brough forth thorns and the crown of thorns:
‎‎They gave Him, it says, wine mingled with myrrh. (Mk 15:23) Now myrrh is in taste like gall, and very bitter. Are these things what ye recompense unto the Lord? Are these thy offerings, O Vine, unto thy Master? Rightly did the Prophet Esaias aforetime bewail you, saying, My well-beloved had a vineyard in a hill in a fruitful place; and (not to recite the whole) I waited, he says, that it should bring forth grapes; I thirsted that it should give wine; but it brought forth thorns; (Is 5:1, 2) for thou seest the crown, wherewith I am adorned. What then shall I now decree? I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the clouds which are the Prophets were removed from them, and are for the future in the Church. (Cyril, Cat. Lect. 13.29, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 90)

St. Ambrose--those deprived of the fertilizing rain of prophecy suffer the drought of unbelief:
‎‎Nor is it strange that [Israel] should suffer the drought of unbelief, whom the Lord deprived of the fertilising of the shower of prophecy, saying: “I will command My clouds that they rain not upon that vineyard.” (Is 5:6) For there is a health-giving shower of salutary grace, as David also said: “He came down like rain upon a fleece. and like drops that drop upon the earth.” (Ps 72:6) The divine Scriptures promised us this rain upon the whole earth, to water the world with the dew of the Divine Spirit at the coming of the Saviour. The Lord, then, has now come, and the rain has come; the Lord has come bringing the heavenly drops with Him, and so now we drink, who before were thirsty, and with an interior draught drink in that Divine Spirit. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 1, Prol. 8, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 94)

St. Augustine on what it can mean to "make your requests known" to God who knows all:
‎‎Whence, also, when the same apostle says, “Let your requests be made known unto God,” (Phil 4:6) this is not to be understood as if thereby they become known to God, who certainly knew them before they were uttered, but in this sense, that they are to be made known to ourselves in the presence of God by patient waiting upon Him, not in the presence of men by ostentatious worship. Or perhaps that they may be made known also to the angels that are in the presence of God, that these beings may in some way present them to God, and consult Him concerning them, and may bring to us, either manifestly or secretly, that which, hearkening to His commandment, they may have learned to be His will, and which must be fulfilled by them according to that which they have there learned to be their duty; for the angel said to Tobias: (Tob 12:12) “Now, therefore, when thou didst pray, and Sara thy daughter-in-law, I did bring the remembrance of your prayers before the Holy One.” (Augustine, Ep. 130.9.18, NPNF1, vol. 1, pg. 465)

St. John Chrysostom on Phil. 4:9:
‎What meaneth, “whatsoever things are lovely”? Lovely to the faithful, lovely to God. “Whatsoever things are true.” Virtue is really true, vice is falsehood. For the pleasure of it is a falsehood, and its glory is falsehood, and all things of the world are falsehood. “Whatsoever things are pure.” This is opposed to the words “who mind earthly things.” “Whatsoever things are honorable.” This is opposed to the words “whose god is their belly.” “Whatsoever things are just,” i.e. saith he, “whatsoever things are of good report.” “If there be any virtue, if there be any praise.” Here he willeth them to take thought of those things too which regard men. “Think on these things,” saith he. Seest thou, that he desires to banish every evil thought from our souls; for evil actions spring from thoughts. (Chrysostom, Hom. Phil. 14, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 247)

St. Augustine on the parable of the tenants:
‎The vineyard was planted when the law was given in the hearts of the Jews. The Prophets were sent, seeking fruit, even their good life: the Prophets were treated despitefully by them, and were killed. Christ also was sent, the Only Son of the Householder; and they killed Him who was the Heir, and so lost the inheritance. Their evil counsel turned out contrary to their designs. They killed Him that they might possess the inheritance; and because they killed Him, they lost it. (Augustine, Serm. 87.2.3, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 374)

St. John Chrysostom on the care and long-suffering of the householder:
‎‎And observe also both His great care, and the excessive idleness of these men. For what pertained to the husbandmen, He Himself did, the hedging it round about, the planting the vineyard, and all the rest, and He left little for them to do; to take care of what was there, and to preserve what was given to them. For nothing was left undone, but all accomplished; and not even so did they gain, and this, when they had enjoyed such great blessings from Him. For when they had come forth out of Egypt, He gave a law, and set up a city, and built a temple, and prepared an altar.
‎‎“And went into a far country;” that He bore long with them, not always bringing the punishments close upon their sins; for by His going into a far country, He means His great long-suffering. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 68.1, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 415)

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