Monday, July 30, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Exodus 16:2–4, 12–15
Second Reading Ephesians 4:17, 20–24
Gospel John 6:24–35


St. Ambrose--the sacraments of the Church are more excellent than the manna from heaven:
‎Now consider whether the bread of angels be more excellent or the Flesh of Christ, which is indeed the body of life. That manna came from heaven, this is above the heavens; that was of heaven, this is of the Lord of the heavens; that was liable to corruption, if kept a second day, this is far from all corruption, for whosoever shall taste it holily shall not be able to feel corruption. For them water flowed from the rock, for you Blood flowed from Christ; water satisfied them for a time, the Blood satiates you for eternity. The Jew drinks and thirsts again, you after drinking will be beyond the power of thirsting; that was in a shadow, this is in truth. (Ambrose, De myst. 8.48, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 323)

St. Augustine--we are made after the image of God according to the rational mind, and are there renewed:
‎“Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which is created after God;” (Eph 4:23, 34) and in another place more clearly, “Putting off the old man,” he says, “with his deeds; put on the new man, which is renewed to the knowledge of God after the image of Him that created him?” (Col 3:9, 10) If, then, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and he is the new man who is renewed to the knowledge of God after the image of Him that created him; no one can doubt, that man was made after the image of Him that created him, not according to the body, nor indiscriminately according to any part of the mind, but according to the rational mind, wherein the knowledge of God can exist. And it is according to this renewal, also, that we are made sons of God by the baptism of Christ; and putting on the new man, certainly put on Christ through faith. (Augustine, De Trin. 12.7.12, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 159)

St. John Chrysostom--as Christian doctrines are true, so is the Christian life:
‎“As truth is in Jesus; that ye put away as concerning your former manner of life, the old man.”
‎That is to say, It was not on these terms that thou enteredst into covenant. What is found among us is not vanity, but truth. As the doctrines are true, so is the life also. Sin is vanity and falsehood; but a right life is truth. For temperance is indeed truth, for it has a great end; whereas profligacy ends in nothing. (Chrysostom, Hom. Eph. 13, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 113)

St. Gregory of Nyssa--to put on the "new man" is to put on Christ:
‎“Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ro 13;14) and also where (using the same word) he says, “Put on the new man which after God is created.” (Eph 4:24) For if the garment of salvation is one, and that is Christ, one cannot say that “the new man, which after God is created,” is any other than Christ, but it is clear that he who has “put on Christ” has “put on the new man which after God is created.” For actually He alone is properly named “the new man,” Who did not appear in the life of man by the known and ordinary ways of nature, but in His case alone creation, in a strange and special form, was instituted anew. For this reason he names the same Person, when regarding the wonderful manner of His birth, “the new man, which after God is created,” and, when looking to the Divine nature, which was blended in the creation of this “new man,” he calls Him “Christ”: so that the two names (I mean the name of “Christ” and the name of “the new man which after God is created”) are applied to one and the same Person. (Greg. Nyss., Cont. Eun. 3.2, NPNF2, vol. 5, pg. 141)

St. Clement of Alexandria--on the Word, the Bread of Life:
‎Further, the Word declares Himself to be the bread of heaven. “For Moses,” He says, “gave you not that bread from heaven, but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. And the bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:32, 33, 51) Here is to be noted the mystery of the bread, inasmuch as He speaks of it as flesh, and as flesh, consequently, that has risen through fire, as the wheat springs up from decay and germination; and, in truth, it has risen through fire for the joy of the Church, as bread baked. But this will be shown by and by more clearly in the chapter on the resurrection. But since He said, “And the bread which I will give is My flesh,” and since flesh is moistened with blood, and blood is figuratively termed wine, we are bidden to know that, as bread, crumbled into a mixture of wine and water, seizes on the wine and leaves the watery portion, so also the flesh of Christ, the bread of heaven, absorbs the blood; that is, those among men who are heavenly, nourishing them up to immortality, and leaving only to destruction the lusts of the flesh. (Clem. Alex., Paed. 1.6, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 221)

St. Augustine--seek Jesus for his own sake:
‎“Jesus answered and said Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me, not because ye saw the signs, but because ye have eaten of my loaves.” Ye seek me for the sake of the flesh not for the sake of the spirit. How many seek Jesus for no other object but that He may bestow on them a temporal benefit! One has a business on hand, he seeks the intercession of the clergy; another is oppressed by one more powerful than himself, he flies to the church. Another desires intervention in his behalf with one with whom he has little influence. One in this way, one in that, the church is daily filled with such people. Jesus is scarcely sought after for Jesus’ sake. “Ye seek me, not because ye have seen the signs, but because ye have eaten of my loaves. Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal life.” Ye seek me for something else, seek me for my own sake. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 25.10, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 163)

St. Augustine--Christ declares faith itself to be a work:
‎Faith is indeed distinguished from works, even as the apostle says, “that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law:” (Ro 3:28) there are works which appear good, without faith in Christ; but they are not good, because they are not referred to that end in which works are good; “for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Ro 10:4) For that reason, He willeth not to distinguish faith from work, but declared faith itself to be work. For it is that same faith that worketh by love. (Gal 5:6) Nor did He say, This is your work; but, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent;” so that he who glories, may glory in the Lord. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan 25.12, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 164)

St. John Chrysostom on Jn 6:35:
‎“I am the bread of life.” Now He proceedeth to commit unto them mysteries. And first He discourseth of His Godhead, saying, “I am the bread of life.” For this is not spoken of His Body, (concerning that He saith towards the end, “And the bread which I shall give is My flesh,”) but at present it referreth to His Godhead. For That, through God the Word, is Bread, as this bread also, through the Spirit descending on it, is made Heavenly Bread.  (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 45.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 161)

St. Hilary--the Son of Man is sealed by the Father:
‎He goes on to say, For Him hath the Father sealed, even God. (Jn 6:27) It is the nature of a seal to exhibit the whole form of the figure graven upon it, and that an impression taken from it reproduces it in every respect; and since it receives the whole of that which is impressed, it displays also in itself wholly whatever has been impressed upon it. Yet this comparison is not adequate to exemplify the Divine birth, because in seals there is a matter, difference of nature, and an act of impression, whereby the likeness of stronger natures is impressed upon things of a more yielding nature. But the Only-begotten God, Who was also through the Mystery of our salvation the Son of Man, desiring to point out to us the likeness of His Father’s proper nature in Himself, said that He was sealed by God; because the Son of Man was about to give the food of eternal life, and that we thereby might perceive in Him the power of giving food unto eternity, in that He possessed within Himself all the fulness of His Father’s form, even of the God Who sealed Him: so that what God had sealed should display in itself none other than the form of the God Who sealed it. These things indeed the Lord spoke to the Jews, who could not receive His saying because of unbelief. (Hilary, De Trin. 8.44, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 150)

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