Monday, September 10, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 50:5–9a
Second Reading James 2:14–18
Gospel Mark 8:27–35


St. Athanasius--the impassible Word takes our sufferings upon himself:
‎the incorporeal Word made His own the properties of the Body, as being His own Body. Why, when the Body was struck by the attendant, as suffering Himself He asked, ‘Why smitest thou Me?’ (Jn 18:23) And being by nature intangible, the Word yet said, ‘I gave My back to the stripes, and My cheeks to blows, and hid not My face from shame and spitting.’ (Is 50:6) For what the human Body of the Word suffered, this the Word, dwelling in the body, ascribed to Himself, in order that we might be enabled to be partakers of the Godhead of the Word. (2 Pe 1:4) And verily it is strange that He it was Who suffered and yet suffered not. Suffered, because His own Body suffered, and He was in it, which thus suffered; suffered not, because the Word, being by Nature God, is impassible. And while He, the incorporeal, was in the passible Body, the Body had in it the impassible Word, which was destroying the infirmities inherent in the Body. But this He did, and so it was, in order that Himself taking what was ours and offering it as a sacrifice, He might do away with it, and conversely might invest us with what was His, and cause the Apostle to say: ‘This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality.’ (1 Co 15:53) (Athanasius, Ep. ad Epict. 6, NPNF2, vol. 4, pg. 572)

St. Augustine--faith without works is dead:
‎I have shown from Scripture, that the faith which saves us is that which the Apostle Paul clearly enough describes when he says: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.” (Ga 5:6) But if it worketh evil, and not good, then without doubt, as the Apostle James says, “it is dead, being alone.” (Jas 2:17) The same apostle says again, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?” (Jas 2:14) (Augustine, Enchir. 67.18, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 259)

St. Augustine--by loving himself man is lost, by denying himself he is found:
‎We know what great things love itself can do. Very often is this love even abominable and impure; but how great hardships have men suffered, what indignities and intolerable things have they endured, to attain to the object of their love? whether it be a lover of money who is called covetous; or a lover of honour, who is called ambitious; or a lover of beautiful women, who is called voluptuous. And who could enumerate all sorts of loves? Yet consider what labour all lovers undergo, and are not conscious of their labours; and then does any such one most feel labour, when he is hindered from labour. Since then the majority of men are such as their loves are, and that there ought to be no other care for the regulation of our lives, than the choice of that which we ought to love; why dost thou wonder, if he who loves Christ, and who wishes to follow Christ, for the love of Him denies himself? For if by loving himself man is lost, surely by denying himself be is found. (Augustine, Serm. 96.1.1, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 408)

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