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 Post subject: Palm Sunday -- Readings and Patristic Commentary
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:43 am 
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Gospel Lesson at the Procession with Palms:

Matt. 21:1-11

When [Jesus and the disciples] drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to Me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, 'The Lord has need of them.' Then he will send them at once." This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass." The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and He sat upon the cloaks. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding Him and those following kept crying out and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken and asked, "Who is this?" And the crowds replied, "This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee."


Lessons for the Main Liturgy:

Isa. 50:4-7

"The Lord God has given Me a well-trained tongue, that I would know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse him. Morning after morning He opens My ear that I will be well-trained to hear. The Lord God has opened My ear, and I have not rebelled, nor turned back. I gave My back to those with the scourges, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard. My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. For the Lord God will help Me; therefore I shall not be disgraced. So I have set My face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame."


Psalm 22:1-2, 8-9, 17-20, 23-24

For the Chief Musician, to the tune of "The Hind of the Morning"; A Psalm of David.

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? . . . . All those who see Me laugh Me to scorn. They mock Me with parted lips, they wag their heads: "He trusted in the LORD that He would deliver him. Let Him deliver him, if He delights in him." . . . . For dogs have surrounded Me; a pack of evildoers have closed in upon Me. They have pierced My hands and My feet. I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My vesture they cast lots. But you, O LORD, be not far from Me. O My strength, hasten to help Me. . . . I will proclaim Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the LORD, praise Him. All you seed of Jacob, glorify Him. Fear Him, all you seed of Israel!


Phil. 2:6-11

Who, though He was by nature God, did not regard His equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He made Himself of no reputation, taking the nature of a slave, coming in human likeness. Being found human in form, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the Cross. Because of this, God has greatly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


The Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew:

Matt. 26:14-75; 27:1-66

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" They agreed to pay him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand Him over.

Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The teacher says, "My appointed time is at hand. In your house I shall observe the Passover with My disciples."'" The disciples did as Jesus had ordered, and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, He sat down with the twelve. And while they were eating, He said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to Him one after another, "Surely it is not I, Lord?" He said in reply, "He who dips his hand into the dish with Me is the one who will betray Me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born." Then Judas, His betrayer, said in reply, "Surely it is not I, teacher?" He answered him, "You have said so."

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, pronounced the blessing, broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat. This is My body." Then He took the chalice, pronounced the blessing, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is My blood of the new covenant, which is to be shed for many for the remission of sins. But I tell you, from now on I shall not drink of this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in My Father's Kingdom." Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, "This night all of you will have your faith in Me shaken, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I am risen again, I shall go before you to Galilee." Peter said to Him in reply, "Though all may have their faith in You shaken, mine will never be." Jesus said to him, "Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny Me three times." Peter said to Him, "Even though I should have to die with You, I will not deny You." And all the disciples spoke likewise.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then He said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and keep watch with Me." He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." When He returned to the disciples, He found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Watch and pray, that you may not undergo the test. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Withdrawing the second time, He prayed again, "O My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without My drinking it, Your will be done!" Then He returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed the third time, saying the same thing again. Then He returned to His disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, My betrayer is at hand."

While He was still speaking, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people. His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, "The man I shall kiss is the one. Arrest him." Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, "Hail, teacher!" and kissed Him. Jesus answered him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then stepping forward, they laid hands on Jesus and arrested Him. And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the High Priest's servant, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call upon My Father and He will not provide Me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must come to pass in this way?" At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out as against a brigand, with swords and clubs to seize Me? Day after day I sat teaching in the Temple courts, yet you did not arrest Me. But all this has come to pass that the writings of the Prophets may be fulfilled." Then all the disciples abandoned Him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the High Priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the High Priest's courtyard, and going inside he sat down with the servants to see the outcome. The chief priests and elders and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus in order to put Him to death, but they found none. Yes, though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. Finally two false witnesses came forward who stated, "This man said, 'I can destroy the Temple of God and within three days rebuild it.'" The High Priest rose and addressed Him, "Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?" But Jesus was silent. Then the High Priest said to Him, "I order you to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God." Jesus said to him in reply, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see 'the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power' and 'coming on the clouds of heaven.'" Then the High Priest tore his robes and said, "He has blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? You have now heard the blasphemy. What is your opinion?" They said in reply, "He deserves to die!" Then they spat in His face and struck Him, while some slapped Him, saying, "Prophesy for us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?"

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about!" As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazarene." Again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them. Even your speech gives you away." At that he began to curse and to swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: "Before the cock crows you will deny Me three times." And he went out, and wept bitterly.

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death. They bound Him, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pontius Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, who had betrayed Him, when he saw that He had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? Look to it yourself." Flinging the money into the Temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself. The chief priests gathered up the money, but said, "It is contrary to the Law for us to deposit this in the Temple treasury, for it is the price of blood." After consultation, they used it to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a price on his head, a price set by some of the children of Israel, and they paid it out for the potter's field, as the Lord had commanded me."

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus said, "You say so." And when He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?" But He did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now on the occasion of that festival, the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, "Which one do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christus?" For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed Him over. While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I suffered much in a dream today because of him." But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor said to them in reply, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They answered, "Barabbas!" Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christus?" They all said, "Let him be crucified!" The governor said, "Why? What evil has he done?" But they only shouted the louder, saying, "Let him be crucified!" When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood. Look to it yourselves." Then the whole people said in reply, "His blood be upon us, and upon our children." Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around Him. They stripped off His clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about Him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And kneeling before Him, they mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They spat upon Him and took the reed and kept striking Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the cloak, dressed Him in His own clothes, and led Him off to crucify Him.

As they were going out, they met a man of Cyrene named Simon. This man they pressed into service to carry His cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha -- that is, the Place of the Skull-- they gave Jesus vinegar to drink mixed with gall. But when He had tasted it, He refused to drink. After they had crucified Him, they divided His garments by casting lots, in order to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "They divided My garments among them, and for My vesture they cast lots." Then they sat down and kept watch over Him there. And they placed over His head the written charge against Him: "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS." Then two brigands were crucified with Him, one on His right and the other on His left. Those passing by reviled Him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked Him and said, "He saved others. He cannot save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe him. He trusted in God -- let Him deliver him now, if He wants him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" The brigands who were crucified with Him also cast the same thing in His teeth.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Some of the bystanders who heard it said, "This fellow is calling for Elijah." Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge, soaked it in vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave it to Him to drink. But the rest said, "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him." Jesus, when He had cried out again in a loud voice, gave up His spirit.

[Here all kneel and pause for a short time.]

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. Coming forth from their tombs after His resurrection, they entered the Holy City and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, "Truly, this was the son of God!" There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

When evening was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered the body to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb.

Now the next day, the one following the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember that this impostor while still alive said, 'After three days I will be raised up.' Give orders, then, that the grave be secured until the third day, lest his disciples come by night and steal him, and say to the people, 'He is risen from the dead.' This last imposture would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard. Go, secure it as best you can." So they went and secured the tomb by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard.

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I praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen. -- St. Polycarp's prayer of thanksgiving at his martyrdom, 156 A.D.

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 Post subject: Patristic commentary
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 12:44 am 
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Origen: Whence Bethphage is interpreted, The House of the Shoulder; for the shoulder was the priest’s portion in the Law. It follows, “Then Jesus sent two of his disciples.”

Rabanus: In history, Daughter of Sion is the name given to the city of Jerusalem, which stands on mount Sion. But mystically, it is the Church of the faithful pertaining to the Jerusalem which is above.

Jerome: I shall shortly examine what is the meaning of this word, Hosanna. In the hundred and seventeenth Psalm, which is clearly written of the Saviour’s coming, we read this among other things; “Save me now, O Lord, send now prosperity. Blessed art thou that art to come in the name of the Lord.” [Ps 118:25] For that which the Septuagint translates, “Save now, O Lord;” we read in the Hebrew, ‘Anna, adonai osianna,’ which Symmachus renders more plainly, “I pray thee, O Lord, save, I pray thee.” Let none think that it is a word made up of two words, one Greek and one Hebrew, for it is pure Hebrew.

Jerome: Or, because there is theory and practice, that is, knowledge and works. By the ass which had been under the yoke, and was broken, the synagogue is understood. By the ass’s colt wild and unbroken, the Gentile people; for the Jewish nation is towards God the mother of the Gentiles.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: Men are likened to animals, from some resemblance they bear in their not recognising the Son of God. And this animal is unclean, and beyond all other brutes incapable of reasoning, a stupid, helpless, ignoble drudge. Such were men before the coming of Christ, unclean with divers passions; unreasoning, that is, lacking the reason of the Word; stupid, in their disregard of God; weak in soul; ignoble, because forgetting their heavenly birth they became slaves of their passions, and of the demons; drudges, because they toiled under the load of error laid upon them by the daemons, or the Pharisees.

The ass was tied, that is, bound in the chain of diabolic error, so that it had not liberty to go whither it would; for before we do any sin we have free will to follow, or not, the will of the Devil; but if once by sinning we have bound ourselves to do his works, we are no longer able to escape by our own strength, but, like a vessel that has lost its rudder is tossed at the mercy of the storm, so man, when by sin he has forfeited the aid of Divine grace, no longer acts as he wills, but as the Devil wills. And if God, by the mighty arm of His mercy, do not loose him, he will abide till death in the chain of his sins. Therefore He saith to His disciples, “Loose them,” that is, by your teaching and miracles, for all the Jews and Gentiles were loosed by the Apostles; “and bring them to me,” that is, convert them to My glory.

Jerome: The Apostles’ clothes which are laid upon the beasts may be understood either as the teaching of virtues, or discernment of Scriptures, or verities of ecclesiastical dogmas, with which, unless the soul be furnished and instructed, it deserves not to have the Lord take His seat there.

Remigius: The Lord sitting upon the ass goes towards Jerusalem, because presiding over the Holy Church, or the faithful soul, He both guides it in this life, and after this life leads it to the view of the heavenly country. But the Apostles and other teachers set their garments upon the ass, when they gave to the Gentiles the glory which they had received from Christ. The multitudes spread their garments in the way, when they of the circumcision who believed, despised the glory which they had by the Law. They cut down branches from the trees, because out of the Prophets they had heard of the green “Branch” as an emblem of Christ. [marg. note: Isa 11:1, Jer 23:5]

Or, the multitudes who spread their garments in the way, are the martyrs who gave to martyrdom for Christ their bodies, which are the clothing of their minds. Or, they are signified, who subdue their bodies by abstinence. They who cut down the branches of the trees, are they who seek out the sayings and examples of the holy fathers for their own or their children’s salvation.

Jerome: When He says, “The multitudes that went before and that followed,” He shews that both people, those who before the Gospel, and those who after the Gospel, believed on the Lord, praise Jesus with the harmonious voice of confession.

Rabanus: But it is to be noted, that this entry of His into Jerusalem was five days before the passover. For John relates, that six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, [John 12:1] and on the morrow sitting on the ass entered Jerusalem. In this observe the correspondence between the Old and New Testaments, not only in things but in seasons. For on the tenth day of the first month, the lamb that was to be sacrificed for the passover was to be taken into the house, [marg. note: Ex 12:3] because on the same day of the same month, that is, five days before the passover, the Lord was to enter the city in which He was to suffer.

Remigius: Woe also to all who draw near to Christ’s table with an evil and defiled conscience! who though they do not deliver Christ to the Jews to be crucified, deliver Him to their own sinful members to be taken. He adds, to give more emphasis, “Good were it for that man if he had never been born.”

Augustine: Quaest. Ev., i, 40: And if it be contended that there is a life before this life, that will prove that not only not for Judas, but for none other is it good to have been born. Can it mean, that it were better for him not to have been born to the Devil, namely, for sin? Or does it mean that it had been good for him not to have been born to Christ at his calling, that he should now become apostate?

Chrysostom: Though the Lord could have said, Hast thou covenanted to receive silver, and darest to ask Me this? But Jesus, most merciful, said nothing of all this, therein laying down for us rules and landmarks of endurance of evil.

Augustine: in Joan. Tr. 26, 17, cf Serm. 227, 1: The Lord committed His Body and Blood to substances which are formed a homogeneous compound out of many. Bread is made of many grains, wine is produced out of many berries. Herein the Lord Jesus Christ signified us, and hallowed in His Own table the mystery of our peace and unity.

Augustine: in Joan. Tr., 27, 11: Let us not eat Christ’s flesh only in the Sacrament, for that do many wicked men, but let us eat to spiritual participation, that we may abide as members in the Lord’s body, that we may be quickened by His Spirit.

Remigius: What the One affirms by His power of foreknowledge, the other denies through love; whence we may take a practical lesson, that in proportion as we are confident of the warmth of our faith, we should be in fear of the weakness of our flesh. Peter seems culpable, first, because he contradicted the Lord’s words; secondly, because he set himself before the rest; and thirdly, because he attributed every thing to himself as though he had power to persevere strenuously. His fall then was permitted to heal this in him; not that be was driven to deny, but left to himself, and so convinced of the frailty of his human nature.

Rabanus: When the Lord prayed in the mountain, He taught us to make supplication for heavenly things; when He prays in the garden, He teaches us to study humility in our prayer. And beautifully, as He draws near His Passion, does He pray in the ‘valley of fatness’ shewing that through the valley of humility, and the richness of charity, He took upon Him death for our sakes.

Jerome: The Lord therefore sorrowed in the garden not from fear of suffering, for for this cause He had come that He should suffer, and had rebuked Peter for his fearfulness; [marg. note: Matt 14:40] but for the wretched Judas, for the offence of the rest of the Apostles, for the rejection and reprobation of the Jewish nation, and the overthrow of unhappy Jerusalem.

Damas., Fid. Orth., iii, 23: Or otherwise; All things which have not yet been brought into existence by their Maker have a natural desire of existence, and naturally shun non-existence. God the Word then, having been made Man, had this desire, through which He desired food, drink, and sleep, by which life is supported, and naturally used them, and contrariwise shunned the things that are destructive of life. Hence in the season of His Passion which He endured voluntarily, He had the natural fear and sorrow for death. For there is a natural fear wherewith the soul shrinks from separation from the body, by reason of that close sympathy implanted from the first by the Maker of all things.

Origen: He took with Him the self-confident Peter, and the others, that they might see Him falling on His face and praying, and might learn not to think great things, but little things of themselves, and not to be hasty in promising, but careful in prayer. And therefore, “He went forward a little,” not to go far from them, but that He might be near them in His prayer.

Jerome: In another Gospel [marg. note: John 18:19], Peter is represented as having cut off the servant's ear, and with his usual hastiness; and that the servant’s name was Malchus, and that the ear was the right ear. In passing we may say, that Malchus, i.e. one who should have been king of the Jews, was made the slave of the ungodliness and the greediness of the Priests, and lost his right ear so that he might hear only the worthlessness of the letter in his left.

Jerome: And by this rending his garments, the high priest shews that the Jews have lost the priestly glory, and that their High Priest’s throne was vacant. For by rending his garment he rent the veil of the Law which covered him.

Pope Leo the Great: Serm. 60, 4: For this reason it should seem he was permitted to waver, that the remedy of penitence might be exhibited in the head of the Church, and that none should dare to trust in his own strength, when even the blessed Peter could not escape the danger of frailty.

Remigius: Spiritually; By Peter’s denial before the cock-crow , are denoted those who before Christ’s resurrection did not believe Him to be God, being perplexed by His death. In his denial after the first cock-crow, are denoted those who are in error concerning both Christ’s natures, His human and divine. By the first handmaid is signified desire; by the second, carnal delight; by them that stood by, the daemons; for by them men are led to a denial of Christ.

Origen: Or, By the first handmaid is understood the Synagogue of the Jews, which oft compelled the faithful to deny; by the second, the congregations of the Gentiles, who even persecuted the Christians; they that stood in the hall signify the ministers of divers heresies, who also compel men to deny the truth of Christ.

Rabanus: Judas “hanged himself,” to shew that he was hateful to both heaven and earth.

Origen: But had he desired and looked for place and time for repentance, he would perhaps have found Him who has said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” [Ezek 33:11] Or, perhaps, he desired to die before his Master on His way to death, and to meet Him with a disembodied spirit, that by confession and deprecation he might obtain mercy; and did not see that it is not fitting that a servant of God should dismiss himself from life, but should wait God’s sentence.

Chrysostom: Hom. de Cruc. et Lat., ii: The Lord would not suffer under a roof, or in the Jewish Temple, that you should not suppose that He was offered for that people alone; but without the city, without the walls, that you might know that the sacrifice was common, that it was the offering of the whole earth, that the purification was general.

Origen: And as by Moses stretching out his hands towards heaven darkness was brought upon the Egyptians who held the servants of God in bondage, so likewise when at the sixth hour Christ stretched out his hands on the cross to heaven, darkness came over all the people who had cried out, “Crucify him,” and they were deprived of all light as a sign of the darkness that should come, and that should envelop the whole people of the Jews. Further, under Moses there was darkness over the land of Egypt three days, but all the children of Israel had light; so under Christ there was darkness over all Judaea for three hours, because for their sins they were deprived of the light of God the Father, the splendour of Christ, and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.

But over the rest of the earth there is light, which every where illumines the Church of God in Christ. And if to the ninth hour there was darkness over Judaea, it is manifest that light returned to them again after that; “so, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have entered in, then all Israel shall be saved.” [Rom 11:25]

Hilary: Mystically, Joseph affords a figure of the Apostles. He wraps the body in a clean linen cloth, in which same linen sheet were let down to Peter out of heaven all manner of living creatures; whence we understand, that under the representation of this linen cloth the Church is buried together with Christ. The Lord’s body moreover is laid in a chamber hewn out of rock, empty and new; that is, by the teaching of the Apostles, Christ is conveyed into the hard breast of the Gentiles hewn out by the toil of teaching, rude and new, hitherto unpenetrated by any fear of God. And for that besides Him ought nothing to enter our breasts, a stone is rolled to the mouth, that as before Him we had received no author of divine knowledge, so after Him we should admit none.

Chrysostom: Hom. lxxxix: Observe how against their will they concert to demonstrate the truth, for by their precautions irrefragable demonstration of the resurrection was attained. The sepulchre was watched, and so no fraud could have been practised; and if there was no collusion, it is certain that the Lord rose again. Pilate will not suffer that the soldiers alone should seal. But as though he had learnt the truth concerning Christ, he was no longer willing to be partner in their acts, and says, Seal it as ye will yourselves, that ye may not be able to accuse others. For had the soldiers alone sealed, they might have said that the soldiers had suffered the disciples to steal the body, and so given the disciples a handle to forge a tale concerning the resurrection; but this could they not say now, when they themselves had sealed the sepulchre.

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I praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen. -- St. Polycarp's prayer of thanksgiving at his martyrdom, 156 A.D.

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