Monday, November 21, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: First Sunday of Advent, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 63:16b–17, 19b, 64:2–7
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 1:3–9
Gospel Mark 13:33–37

Apostolic Constitutions--God who formed us as clay will raise us up again:
‎‎Nay, and Isaiah says in his prayer to Him: “We are the clay, and Thou art the framer of us.” (Is 64:8) If, therefore, man be His workmanship, made by Christ, by Him most certainly will he after he is dead be raised again, with intention either of being crowned for his good actions or punished for his transgressions. (Apostolic Constitutions 5.7, ANF, vol. 7, pg. 439)

St. John Chrysostom on St. Paul calling God "my God":
‎‎“Unto my God.” Out of great affection he seizes on that which is common, and makes it his own; as the prophets also from time to time use to say, (Ps 43:4 and Ps 62:1) “O God, my God;” and by way of encouragement he incites them to use the same language also themselves. For such expressions belong to one who is retiring from all secular things, and moving towards Him whom he calls on with so much earnestness: since he alone can truly say this, who from things of this life is ever mounting upwards unto God, and always preferring Him to all, and giving thanks continually, not [only] for the grace already given, but whatever blessing hath been since at any time bestowed, for this also he offereth unto Him the same praise. Wherefore he saith not merely, “I give thanks,” but “at all times, concerning you;” instructing them to be thankful both always, and to no one else save God only. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Cor. 2.2, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 6)

St. John Chrysostom on the "fellowship of His Son":
‎‎But what means, “into the fellowship of His Son?” Hear him declaring this very thing more clearly elsewhere. (2 Ti 2:12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we die with Him, we shall also live with Him. Then, because it was a great thing which He had said, he adds an argument fraught with unanswerable conviction; for, saith he, “God is faithful,” i. e. “true.” Now if “true,” what things He hath promised He will also perform. And He hath promised that He will make us partakers of His only-begotten Son; for to this end also did He call us. For (Ro 11:29) “His gifts, and the calling of God,” are without repentance. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Cor. 2.8, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 8)

St. Athanasius on the grace of God, which is given in Christ Jesus:
‎‎For though the Father gives it, through the Son is the gift; and though the Son be said to vouchsafe it, it is the Father who supplies it through and in the Son; for ‘I thank my God,’ says the Apostle writing to the Corinthians, ‘always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you in Christ Jesus.’ (1 Co 1:4) And this one may see in the instance of light and radiance; for what the light enlightens, that the radiance irradiates; and what the radiance irradiates, from the light is its enlightenment. So also when the Son is beheld, so is the Father, for he is the Father’s radiance; and thus the Father and the Son are one. (Athanastius, Four Discourses against the Arians 3.25.13, NPNF2, vol. 4, pg. 401)

St. Gregory the Great--all must watch the doors of their hearts:
‎For the earth is properly the place for the flesh, which was as it were carried away to a far country, when it was placed by our Redeemer in the heavens. And he gave his servants power over every work, when, by giving to His faithful ones the grace of the Holy Ghost, He gave them the power of serving every good work. He has also ordered the porter to watch, because He commanded the order of pastors to have a care over the Church committed to them. Not only, however, those of us who rule over Churches, but all are required to watch the doors of their hearts, lest the evil suggestions of the devil enter into them, and lest our Lord find us sleeping. Wherefore concluding this parable He adds, Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. (Gregory the Great, Hom. in Evang. 9, Cat. Aur. 2.271)

St. Augustine--the day of the Lord comes to each one of us when we depart this life:
‎For He not only speaks to those in whose hearing He then spake, but even to all who came after them, before our time, and even to us, and to all after us, even to His last coming. But shall that day find all living, or will any man say that He speaks also to the dead, when He says, Watch, lest when he cometh he find you sleeping? Why then does He say to all, what only belongs to those who shall then be alive, if it be not that it belongs to all, as I have said? For that day comes to each man when his day comes for departing from this life such as he is to be, when judged in that day, and for this reason every Christian ought to watch, lest the Advent of the Lord find him unprepared; but that day shall find him unprepared, whom the last day of his life shall find unprepared. (Augustine, Ep. 199.3, Cat. Aur. 2.272)

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