Monday, January 9, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading 1 Samuel 3:3b–10, 19
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 6:13c–15a, 17–20
Gospel John 1:35–42


St. Irenaeus--glorify God in your body:
‎‎Now, what is mortal shall be swallowed up of life, when the flesh is dead no longer, but remains living and incorruptible, hymning the praises of God, who has perfected us for this very thing. In order, therefore, that we may be perfected for this, aptly does he say to the Corinthians, “Glorify God in your body.” (1 Co 6:20) Now God is He who gives rise to immortality. (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 5.13.3, ANF, vol. 1, pg. 540)

St. Clement of Alexandria--we who seek the heavenly bread must rule the belly:
‎‎But we who seek the heavenly bread must rule the belly, which is beneath heaven, and much more the things which are agreeable to it, which “God shall destroy,” (1 Co 6:13) says the apostle, justly execrating gluttonous desires. For “meats are for the belly,” (1 Co 6:13) for on them depends this truly carnal and destructive life. (Clement of Alexandria, Paed. 2.1, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 238)

St. Cyprian of Carthage--our bodies are temples, and we are the worshippers and priests of these temples:
‎‎Considering as well as knowing that our members, when purged from all the filth of the old contagion by the sanctification of the layer of life, are God’s temples, and must not be violated nor polluted, since he who does violence to them is himself injured. We are the worshippers and priests of those temples; let us obey Him whose we have already begun to be. Paul tells us in his epistles, in which he has formed us to a course of living by divine teaching, “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a great price; glorify and bear God in your body.” (1 Co 6:14) Let us glorify and bear God in a pure and chaste body, and with a more complete obedience; and since we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, let us obey and give furtherance to the empire of our Redeemer by all the obedience of service, that nothing impure or profane may be brought into the temple of God, lost He should be offended, and forsake the temple which He inhabits. (Cyprian, De habit. virg. 2, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 430)

St. Augustine--the bodies of the married are holy, so long as they keep faith with one another and to God:
‎‎What therefore he says, “She, that is unmarried, thinketh of the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit;” we are not to take in such sense, as to think that a chaste Christian wife is not holy in body. Forsooth unto all the faithful it was said, “Know ye not that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Ghost within you, Whom ye have from God?” (1 Co 6:19) Therefore the bodies also of the married are holy, so long as they keep faith to one another and to God. (Augustine, De bono coniug. 11.13, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 405)

St. Augustine--take heed what you do in the temple of God:
‎‎“Know ye not,” says the same Apostle, “that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?” (1 Co 6:19) Do not then any longer disregard sins of the body; seeing that your “bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God.” If thou didst disregard a sin of the body, wilt thou disregard a sin which thou committest against a temple? Thy very body is a temple of the Spirit of God within thee. Now take heed what thou doest with the temple of God. If thou wert to choose to commit adultery in the Church within these walls, what wickedness could be greater? But now thou art thyself the temple of God. In thy going out, in thy coming in, as thou abidest in thy house, as thou risest up, in all thou art a temple. Take heed then what thou doest, take heed that thou offend not the Indweller of the temple, lest He forsake thee, and thou fall into ruins. “Know ye not,” he says, “that your bodies” (and this the Apostle spake touching fornication, that they might not think lightly of sins of the body) “are the temples of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” For “ye have been bought with a great price.” If thou think so lightly of thine own body, have some consideration for thy price. (Augustine, Serm. 82.10.13, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 371)

St. John Chrysostom--John the Baptist, the friend of the Bridegroom:
‎“Again,” saith the Evangelist, “John stood, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God.” Christ utters no word, His messenger saith all. So it is with a bridegroom. He saith not for a while anything to the bride, but is there in silence, while some show him to the bride, and others give her into his hands; she merely appears, and he departs not having taken her himself, but when he has received her from another who gives her to him. And when he has received her thus given, he so disposes her, that she no more remembers those who betrothed her. Soit was with Christ. He came to join to Himself the Church; He said nothing, but merely came. It was His friend, John, who put into His the bride’s right hand, when by his discourses he gave into His hand the souls of men. He having received them, afterwards so disposed them, that they departed no more to John who had committed them to Him. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 18.1, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 63)

St. Augustine--the Lamb conquers the lion:
‎‎When the time came for God to have mercy, the Lamb came. What sort of a Lamb whom wolves fear? What sort of a Lamb is it who, when slain, slew a lion? For the devil is called a lion, going about and roaring, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pe 5:8) By the blood of the Lamb the lion was vanquished. Behold the spectacles [spectacula, i.e. gladiatorial shows] of Christians. And what is more: they with the eyes of the flesh behold vanity, we with the eyes of the heart behold truth. Do not think, brethren, that our Lord God has dismissed us without spectacles; for if there are no spectacles, why have ye come together to-day? Behold, what we have said you saw, and you exclaimed; you would not have exclaimed if you had not seen. And this is a great thing to see in the whole world, the lion vanquished by the blood of the Lamb: members of Christ delivered from the teeth of the lions, and joined to the body of Christ. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 7.6, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 50)

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