The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)


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And Simon Magus who, armed with diabolic works and words, perverted many by false miracles. Jerome: Observe, He says, "the love of many," not 'of all,' for in the Apostles, and those like them, love would continue, as Paul speaks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? He promises not only that they should live, but that they should teach every where.

And if one had so large a province, think how much all must have done.

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Whence writing to certain, he says of the Gospel, "It bears fruit, and increases in every creature under heaven. And this is the strongest proof of Christ's power, that in thirty years or a little more, the word of the Gospel filled the ends of the world. Though the Gospel was preached every where, yet all did not believe, whence He adds, "For a witness unto all nations," in accusation, that is, of such as believe not, they who have believed bearing witness against them that believed not, and condemning them.

And in fit season did Jerusalem fall, namely, after the Gospel had been preached throughout the world; as it follows, "And then [p. For they who have seen Christ's power shining forth every where, and in brief space spread over the whole world, what mercy did they deserve when they continued still in ingratitude? For then "shall many be offended," and depart from the faith, when they see the numbers and wealth of the wicked, and the miracles of Antichrist, and they shall persecute their brethren; and Antichrist shall send "false Prophets, who shall deceive many; iniquity shall abound," because the number of the wicked shall be increased; and "love shall wax cold," because the number of the good shall diminish.

Jerome: And the sign of the Lord's second coming is, that the Gospel shall be preached in all the world, so that all may be without excuse. Origen: And that, "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake," might be then applied thus; That indeed at this time all nations are conspired together against the Christians, but that when the things foretold by Christ shall have come to pass, then there shall be persecutions, not as before in places, but everywhere against the people of God. There are numberless barbarous nations in Africa, among whom the Gospel is not even yet preached, as it is easy to learn from the prisoners who are brought from thence.

But it cannot be said that these have no part in the promise of God. For God promised with an oath not the Romans only, but all nations to the seed of Abraham. But in whatever nation there is yet no Church established, it must needs be that there should be one, not that all the people should believe; for how then should that be fulfilled, "Ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake," unless there be in all nations those who hate and those who are hated?

That preaching therefore was not accomplished by the Apostles, while as yet there were nations among whom it had not begun to be fulfilled. The words of the Apostle also, "Their sound hath gone out into all the world," though expressed as of time past, are meant to apply to something future, not yet completed; as the Prophet [marg.

If then we know not when it shall be that the whole world shall be filled with the Gospel, undoubtedly we know not when the end shall be; but it shall not be before such time. Origen: When every nation shall have heard the preaching of the Gospel, then shall come the end of the world. For at this time there are many nations, not of barbarians only, but of our own, who have not yet heard the word of Christianity. Thomas, in confirmation of the view of S.

Chrysostom, which refers this to the taking of Jerusalem. Iren Haeres. If we understand it of fruit produced by the preaching, and the foundation in every nation of a Church of believers in Christ, as Augustine in the passage above quoted expounds it, then it is a sign which ought to precede the end of the world, and which did not precede the destruction of Jerusalem. But if we understand it of the fame of their preaching, then it was accomplished before the destruction of Jerusalem, when Christ's disciples had been dispersed over the four quarters of the earth.

Whence Jerome says, I do not suppose that there remained any nation which knew not the name of Christ; for where preacher had never been, some notion of the faith must have been communicated by neighbouring nations. Origen: Morally; He who shall see that glorious second coming of the word of God into his soul, must needs suffer in proportion to the measure of his proficiency assaults of opposing influences, and Christ in him must be hated by all, not only by the nations literally understood, but by the nations of spiritual vices. And in such enquiries there will be few who shall reach the truth with any fulness, the more part shall be offended and fall therefrom, betraying and accusing one another because of their disagreement respecting doctrines, which shall give rise to a mutual hatred.

Also there shall be many setting forth unsound words concerning things to come, and interpreting the Prophets in a manner in which they ought not; these are the false Prophets who shall deceive many, and who shall cause to wax cold that fervour of love which was before in the simplicity of the [p. But he who can abide firmly in the Apostolic tradition, he shall be saved; and the Gospel being preached to the minds of all shall be for a testimony to all nations, that is, to all the unbelieving thoughts of the soul.

Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Jerome: That, "Let him that readeth understand," is said to call us to the mystic understanding of the place. What we read in Daniel is this; "And in the midst of the week the sacrifice and the oblation shall be taken away, and in the temple shall be the abomination of desolations until the consummation of the time, and consummation shall be given upon the desolate.

Jerome: Or it may be understood of the statue of Caesar, which Pilate set up in the temple; or of the equestrian statue of Adrian, which stood to the present time in the very Holy of Holies. For, according to the Old Scripture, an idol is called 'abomination;' "of desolation" is added, because the idol was set up in the desolated and deserted temple. He says, "When ye shall see," because these things were to happen while some of them were yet alive.

Wherein admire Christ's power, and the courage of the disciples, who preached through those times in which all things Jewish were the object of attack. The Apostles, being Jews, introduced new laws in opposition to the Roman authority. The Romans conquered countless thousands of Jews, but could not overcome twelve unarmed unprotected men.

But because it had often happened to the Jews to be recovered in very desperate circumstances, as in the times of Sennacherib and Antiochus, that no man might look for any such event now, He gave command to His disciples to fly, saying, "Then let them which, are in Judaea flee to the mountains. For if those who are in the [p. But it is easy to despise money, and not hard to provide other raiment; but how can one avoid natural circumstances?

How can a woman with child be made active for flight, or how can she that gives suck desert the child she has brought forth? Origen: Or because that will not be a time of shewing pity, neither upon them who are with child, nor upon them who are suckling, nor upon their infants. And as speaking to Jews who thought they might travel no more upon the sabbath than a sabbath-day's journey, He adds, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath.

Jerome: Because in the one the severity of the cold prevents your flight to the deserts, and your lurking in mountains and wilds; in the other, you must either transgress the Law, if you will fly, or encounter instant death if you will stay. Note how this speech is directed against the Jews; for when these things were done by Vespasian, the Apostles could neither observe the Sabbath nor fly, seeing most of them were already dead, and those who survived were living in distant countries.

And why they should pray for this He adds a reason, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor shall be. And so Josephus [marg. Whence it was not unreasonably said, that such tribulation had never been from the beginning of creation, nor should be; for though in the time of Antichrist shall be such, or perhaps greater; yet to the Jews, of whom we must understand this, such shall never more befal.

For if they shall be the first and the chief to receive Antichrist, they will then [p. But He shews that they deserved still heavier punishment than they received, when He adds, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved;" that is, If the siege by the Romans should be continued longer, all the Jews would perish; for by "all flesh," He means all the Jewish nation, those within and those without; for the Romans were at war not only with those in Judaea, but with the whole race wherever dispersed. And they are said to be shortened, because they are less felt, God giving us endurance; so that even though grievous, they are felt as short.

Some there are who suppose that the days will be shortened by a more rapid motion of the sun, as the day was made longer on the prayer of Jesus Name. Jerome: Not remembering that which is written. But these who died before it, and saw nothing of it, these write it, that the power of prophecy may shine manifestly forth. Hilary: Or otherwise; It is a sign of His future coming that the Lord gives, when He says, "When ye shall see the abomination.

It is "the abomination of desolation," because it will desolate the earth with wars and slaughter; and it is admitted by the Jews, and set up in the holy place, that where God had been invoked by the prayers of the saints, into that same place admitted by the unbelievers it might be adored with the worship of God. And because this error will be peculiar to the Jews, that having rejected the truth they should adopt a lie, He warns them to leave Judaea, and flee to the mountains, that no pollution or infection might be gathered by admixture with a people who should believe on Antichrist.

That He says, "Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house," is thus understood. The roof is the highest part of the house, the summit and perfection of the whole building. He then who stands on the top of his house, i. He that has attained to obedience to the command, let him not return back to his former cares, to take on him again the coat of his former sins in which be once was clothed.

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Hilary: That which is said, "Woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck," is not to be taken literally as an admonition to women pregnant, but as a description of souls burdened with the weight of sin, that neither in the house, nor in the field, may escape the [p. Woe also to those that are being suckled; the weak souls, that is, who are being brought to the knowledge of God as by milk, to whom it shall be woe, because they are too laden to fly, and too inexperienced to resist Antichrist, having neither escaped sin, nor partaken of the food of true bread.

Hilary: Or; That we be not taken in the frost of sins. Origen: Mystically; In the holy place of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, Antichrist, that is, false word, has often stood; let those who see this flee from the Judaea of the letter to the high mountains of truth.

And whoso has been found to have gone up to the house-top of the word, and to be standing upon its summit, let him not come down thence as though he would fetch any thing out of his house. And if he be in the field in which the treasure is hid, and return thence to his house, he will run into the temptation of a false word; but especially if he have stripped off his old garment, that is, the old man, and should have returned again to take it up.

Then the soul, as it were with child by the word, not having yet brought forth, is liable to a woe; for it casts that which it had conceived, and loses that hope which is in the acts of truth; and the same also if the word has been brought forth perfect and entire, but not having yet attained sufficient growth. Let them that flee to the mountains pray that their flight be not in the winter or on the sabbath-day, because in the serenity of a settled spirit they may reach the way of salvation, but if the winter overtake them they fall amongst those whom they would fly from.

And there be some who rest from evil works, but do not good works; be your flight then not on such sabbath [p. But what sorer affliction is there than to see our brethren deceived, and to feel one's self shaken and terrified? Those days mean the precepts and dogmas of truth; and all interpretations coming of "science falsely so called" [1 Tim ] are so many additions to those days, which God shortens by those whom He wills. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.


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As above, the Evangelist said, "In those days came John the Baptist," [Matt ] not implying immediately after what had gone before, but thirty years after; so here, when He says, "Then," He passes over the whole interval of time between the taking of Jerusalem and the beginnings of the consummation of the world. Among the signs which He gives of His second coming He certifies them concerning the place, and the deceivers.

For it shall not be then as at His former coming, when He appeared in Bethlehem, in a corner of the world, unknown of any; but [p. Wherefore, "If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe not. Jerome: Wherein He shews that His second coming shall be not in lowliness as His first, but in glory; and therefore it is folly to seek in places little and obscure for Him who is the Light of the whole world. Hilary: Notwithstanding, by reason of the great tribulation in which men shall be cast, false prophets promising to shew aid present from Christ, will falsely affirm that Christ is present in divers places, that they may draw into the service of Antichrist men discouraged and distracted.

For the Egyptian magi were not more acceptable to God than the people of Israel, because they could do what the Israelites could not; yet did Moses, by the power of God, work greater things. This gift is not bestowed on all the saints, lest the weak should be led astray by a most destructive error, supposing such powers to be higher gifts than those works of righteousness by which eternal life is secured.

And though magi do the same miracles that the saints do, yet are they done with a different end, and through a different authority; for the one do them seeking the glory of God, the others seeking their own glory; these do them by some special compact or privilege [marg. For it is one thing for the owner of a horse to be compelled to give it up to a soldier, another for him to hand it over to a purchaser, or to give or lend it to a friend; and as those evil soldiers, who are condemned by the imperial discipline, employ the imperial ensigns to terrify the owners of any property, and to extort from them what is not required by [p.

It is one way then in which magi, another in which good Christians, another in which bad Christians, work miracles; the magi by a private compact, good Christians by the public righteousness, evil Christians by the signs of public righteousness. Nor are we to suppose that such evil angels have creative power, but by their spirituality they know the seeds of things which are bidden from us, and these they secretly scatter by suitable adaptations of the elements, and so they give occasion both to the whole being, and the more rapid increase of substances.

For so there are many men who know what sort of creatures use to be generated out of certain herbs, meats, juices and humours, bruised and mingled together in a certain fashion; save only that it is harder for men to do these things, inasmuch as they lack that subtlety of sense, and penetrativeness of body in their limbs dull and of earthly mould.

Origen: That, "If it were possible," is spoken hyperbolically; not that the elect can be led astray, but He wishes to shew that the discourse of heretics is often so persuasive, as to have force to prevail even with those who act [marg. He adds, "If it were possible," because it is not possible that the elect should be taken in error.

Hilary: The false prophets, of whom He had spoken above, shall say of Christ one while, "Lo, He is in the desert," in order that they may cause men to wander astray; another while, "Lo, He is in the secret chambers," that they may enthral men under the dominion of Antichrist. But the Lord declares Himself to be neither lurking in a remote corner, nor shut up to be visited singly, but that He shall be exhibited to the view of all, and in every place, "As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. For as the lightning needeth none to herald or announce it, but is in an instant of time visible throughout the whole world, even to those that are sitting in their chambers, so the coming of Christ shall be seen every where at once, because of the brightness of His glory.

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Another sign He adds of His coming, "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. Jerome: By an instance from nature, which we daily see, we are instructed in a sacrament of Christ. Eagles and vultures are said to scent dead bodies even beyond sea, and to flock to feed upon them. If then birds, not having the gift of reason, by instinct alone find out where lays a dead body, separated by so great space of country, how much more ought the whole multitude of believers to hasten to Christ, whose lightning goeth forth out of the east, and shines even to the west?

We may understand by the carcase here, or corpse, which in the Latin is more expressively 'cadaver,' an allusion to the passion of Christ's death. Hilary: That we might not be ignorant of the place in which He should come, He adds this, "Wheresoever [p. Origen: And observe, He says not vultures or crows, but "eagles," shewing the lordliness and royalty of all who have believed in the Lord's passion.

Jerome: They are called eagles whose youth is renewed as the eagle's, and who take to themselves wings that they may come to Christ's passion. Jerome: Or otherwise ; This may be understood of the false prophets. At the time of the Jewish captivity, there were many leaders who declared themselves to be Christs, [marg. But it is better taken as we expounded it above, of the end of the world. Thirdly, it may be understood of the warfare of the heretics against the Church, and of those Antichrists, who under pretext of false science, fight against Christ.

Origen: The genus of Antichrist is one, the species many, just as all lies are of one sort. As all the holy Prophets were Prophets of the true Christ, so understand that each false Christ shall have his own false Prophets, who shall preach as true the false teachings of some Antichrist.

When then one shall say, "Lo, here is Christ, or lo, there," we need not look abroad out of the Scriptures, for out of the Law, the Prophets, and the Apostles, they bring the things which seem to favour their lie. Or by this, "Lo, here is Christ, or lo, there," they shew that it was not Christ, but some impostor under the same title, such for example as Marcion, or Valentinus, or Basilides taught. Jerome: If then any one assert to you that Christ tarries in "the desert" of the Gentiles, or in the teaching of the Philosophers, or in "the secret chambers" of the heretics, who promise the hidden things of God, believe Him not, but believe that the Catholic Faith shines from "east to west" in [p.

In the same way as He said below, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, of heaven," [Matt ] so now He likens His coming to lightning, which uses to flash out of the clouds. When then the authority of the Church is set up clear and manifest throughout the whole world, He suitably warns His disciples that they should not believe schismatics and heretics. Each schism and heresy holds its own place, either occupying some important position in the earth, or ensnaring men's curiosity in obscure and remote conventicles.

Jerome: Or by this, "in the desert," or "in the secret chambers," He means that in times of persecution and distress, the false Prophets always find place for deceiving. Origen: Or, when they allege secret and before unpublished Scriptures, in proof of their lie, they seem to say, Lo, the word of truth is in the desert. But when they produce canonical Scripture in which all Christians agree, they seem to say, Lo, the word of truth is in the chambers. Or wishing to point out such discourses as are altogether without Scripture, He said, "If they shall say to you, Lo, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not.

Or this may mean, that truth can be supported out of every passage of Scripture. The lightning of truth comes out of "the east," that is, from the first beginnings of Christ, and shines throughout even to His passion, which is His setting; or from the very beginning of creation, to the last Scripture of the Apostles. Or, "the east" is the Law, "the west" is the end of the Law, and of John's prophecy. The Church alone neither takes away word or meaning from this lightning, nor adds aught to its prophecy.

Or He means that we should give no heed to those who say, "Lo, here is Christ," but shew Him not in the Church, in which alone is the coming or the Son of Man, who said, "Lo, I am with you, always even to the end of the world. Jerome: We are invited to flock to Christ's passion wheresoever in Scripture it [p.

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.

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But it shall not extend through any great length of time. For if for the elect's sake the Jewish war is shortened, much more shall this tribulation be shortened for their sakes; for which reason He said not "After," but "Immediately after," for He shall come immediately after. Hilary: The darkening of the sun, the failing of the moon, and the fall of the stars, indicate the glories of His coming. Origen: One will say, As at the breaking out of great conflagrations, great darkness is at the first caused by the smoke, so when the world shall be consumed by fire, which shall be kindled, even the great luminaries shall be darkened; and when the light of the stars is decayed, the rest of their substance, incapable of exaltation, shall fall from heaven into what it was, when it was first raised aloft by the light.

When this shall have taken place, it follows that the rational heavenly powers shall suffer dismay and derangement, and shall be suspended from their functions. And the sign shall appear in heaven, that men of all tribes [p. Others will think otherwise, that as the light of a lamp dies away by degrees, so when the supply of the heavenly luminaries shall fail, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon and the light of the stars shall grow dim, and that which in their composition is earthy shall fall from heaven.

But how can it be said of the sun that its light shall be darkened, when Esaias the Prophet declares, that in the end of the world, there shall be light proceeding forth from the sun? And of the moon he declares that it shall be as the sun. But concerning the stars, there are some that endeavour to convince us that all, or many of them, are larger than the whole earth. How then shall they fall from heaven, when this earth would not be large enough to contain them? Jerome: These things, therefore, shall not come to pass by any diminution of light, for in another place we read that the light of the sun shall be sevenfold; but by comparison with real light, all things shall seem dim.

But when the day of judgment is passed, and the life of future glory shall dawn, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, then shall that come to pass of which Isaiah speaks, "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold. The stars shall fall from heaven," [Isa ] is expressed in Mark; "There shall be stars falling from heaven," [Mark ] that is, lacking their proper light.

Jerome: "By the powers of heaven," we understand the bands of the Angels. Origen: But as, at the dispensation of the Cross, the sun was eclipsed, and darkness was spread over the earth; so when the sign of the Son of Man appears in heaven, the light of the sun, moon, and [p. This we understand to be the sign of the cross, that the Jews. That the disciples might not be ashamed, and grieve over the cross, He speaks of it as a sign, with a kind of distinction. The sign of the cross will appear to overthrow the shamelessness of the Jews, when Christ shall appear in the judgment, shewing not only His wounds, but His most ignominious death, "And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn.

Jerome: Rightly does He say, "the tribes of the earth," for they shall mourn who have no citizenship in heaven, but are written in earth. Origen: Morally, one may say that the sun, which shall be darkened, is the Devil, who shall be convicted in the end of the world, that whereas he is darkness, he has feigned himself to be the sun; the moon, which seems to receive its light from this sun, is the Church of the wicked, which professes to have and to give light, but then convicted with its sinful dogmas, shall lose its brightness; and all those who, either by false teaching, or false virtues, promised truth to men, but led them astray by lies, these are fitly called stars falling from, so to say, their own heaven, where they were raised on high, exalting themselves against the knowledge of God.

For illustration of this discourse, we may apply that place in Proverbs, which says, "The light of the just is unquenchable, but the light of the wicked shall be quenched. Then shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light," [Song of Songs ] because in that ungoverned fury of wicked persecutors, the Church shall not be seen. And these things shall be "after the tribulation of those days," not because they shall happen when the whole persecution is overpast, but because the tribulation shall be first, that the falling away may come after.

And because it shall be so throughout all those days, it shall be "after the tribulation of those days," yet on those very days. As we read in the Acts of the Apostles; "He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out their sight," [Acts ] upon which it was said by the Angels, "He shall so come as ye have seen Him go into heaven," we may reasonably believe that He will come again, not only in the same body, but also in a cloud. Origen: Therefore shall they see with the bodily eyes the Son of Man, coming in human shape, "in the clouds of heaven," that is, on high.

As at the transfiguration, a voice came out of the cloud, so when He shall come again transformed into His glorious appearance, it shall be not on one cloud, but upon many, which shall be His chariot. And if when the Son of God went up to Jerusalem, they who loved Him spread their garments in the way, not willing that even the ass that carried Him should tread upon the earth; what wonder, if the Father and God of all should spread the clouds of heaven under the body of the Son, when He comes to the work of the consummation?

And one may say, that as in the creation of man, God took clay from the earth and made man; so to manifest the glory of Christ, the Lord taking of the heaven, and of its substance, gave it a body [p. And it behoves the Father to give all such admirable gifts to the Son, because He humbled Himself; and He has also exalted Him, not only spiritually, but bodily, that He should come upon such clouds; and perhaps upon rational clouds, that even the chariot of the glorified Son of Man should not be irrational.

At the first, Jesus came with that power with which He wrought signs and wonders in the people; yet was that power little in comparison of that great power with which He shall come in the end; for that was the power of one emptying Himself of power. And also, it is fitting that He should be transformed into greater glory than at the transfiguration on the mount; for then He was transfigured for the sake of three only, but in the consummation of the whole world, He shall appear in great glory, that all may see Him in glory.

All these things He does at "the last hour" [1 John ] coming in His members as in the clouds, or in the whole Church as in one great cloud, as now He ceases not to come. And "with great power and glory," because His power and glory will seem greater in the Saints to whom He will give great power, that they may not be overcome of persecution. Origen: Or He comes every day "with great power" to the mind of the believer in the clouds of prophecy, that is, in the Scriptures of the Prophets and the Apostles, who utter the word of God with a meaning above human nature.

Also we say that to those who understand He comes with "great glory," and that this is the more seen in the second coming of the Word which is to the perfect. And so it may be, that all which the three Evangelists have said concerning Christ's [p. Origen: Because He had spoken of mourning, which shall be only that they may bear witness against themselves and condemn themselves, that none should suppose that that mourning will end their woes, He now adds, "And he shall send his Angels with a trump and a loud voice.

Origen: It is written in Numbers, that the Priests shall summon by the sound of the trumpet from the four winds those who are of the camp of Israel [Num ], and it is in allusion to this that Christ speaks here of the Angels, "And they shall gather together the elect from the four winds. Bede : After that the Lord taught at Capernaum, He went to the sea, that He might not only set in order the life of men in towns, but also might preach the Gospel of the kingdom to those who dwelt near the sea, and might teach them to despise the restless motions of those things which pass away like the waves of the sea, and to overcome them by the firmness of faith.

Theophylact : Or else, after the miracle, He goes to the sea, as if wishing to be alone, but the crowd runs to Him again, that thou mightest learn, that the more thou fliest from glory, the more she herself pursues thee; but if thou followest her, she will fly from thee. The Lord passing on from thence called Matthew. He wishes to shew to his hearers that no one who is converted should despair of his salvation, since he himself was suddenly changed from a publican into an Apostle.

Theophylact : For he sat at the receipt of custom, either, as is often done, exacting from some, or making up accounts, or doing some actions of that sort, which publicans are wont to do in their abodes, yea this man, who was raised on high from this state of life that he might leave all things and follow Christ.

And not only did he quit the gain of the customs, but he also despised the peril, which might come from the princes of this world, because he left the accounts of the customs imperfect and unsettled. For the Lord Himself, Who externally, by human language, called Him to follow, inflamed him inwardly by divine inspiration to follow Him the moment that He called him. Theophylact : But he who used to plot against others becomes so benevolent, that he invites many persons to eat with him.

They who had seen that the publican, converted from his sins to better things, had found a place of pardon, even for this reason themselves also do not despair of salvation. For the Lord went to the feasts of sinners, that He might have an opportunity of teaching them, and might set before His entertainers spiritual meats, which also is carried on in mystical figures. For he who receives Christ into his inward habitation [p. Therefore the Lord enters willingly, and takes up His abode in the affection of him who hath believed on Him; and this is the spiritual banquet of good works, which the rich cannot have, and on which the poor feast.

Theophylact : But the Pharisees blame this, making themselves pure. Bede : If by the election of Matthew and calling of the publicans, the faith of the Gentiles is expressed, who formerly were intent on the gains of this world; certainly the haughtiness of the Scribes and Pharisees intimates the envy of the Jewish people, who are vexed at the salvation of the Gentiles. He aims at the Scribes and Pharisees, who, thinking themselves righteous, refused to keep company with sinners. He calls Himself the physician, Who, by a strange mode of healing, was wounded on account of our iniquities, and by His wound we are healed.

And He calls those whole and righteous, who, wishing to establish their own righteousness, are not subject to the righteousness of God. Moreover He calls those rich and sinners, who, overcome by the consciousness of their own frailty, and seeing that they cannot be justified by the Law, submit their necks to the grace of Christ by repentance. Theophylact : Not indeed that they should continue sinners, but be converted to that repentance.

But the days will come, when the bridegroom [p. No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

Theophylact : For the disciples of John being in an imperfect state, continued in Jewish customs. Bede : But John [p. But why should the Lord, to whom it naturally belonged to forgive sins, shun those whom he could make more pure, than those who fast? Augustine : Mark here calls them children of the nuptials, whom Matthew calls children of the bridegroom; for we understand the children of the nuptials to be not only those of the bridegroom, but also of the bride. For the betrothal is giving an earnest, namely, that the grace of the Holy Ghost, by which the world believed.

Theophylact : He also calls Himself a bridegroom, not only as betrothing to Himself virgin minds, but because the time of His first coming is not a time of sorrow, nor of sadness to believers, neither does it bring with it toil, but rest. For it is without any works of the law, giving rest by baptism, by which we easily obtain salvation without toil. But the sons of the nuptials or of the Bridegroom are the Apostles; because they, by the grace of God, are made worthy of every heavenly blessing, by the grace of God, and partakers of every joy.

He shews also that there is no necessity for His disciples to fast, as having present with them the Bridegroom of human nature, Who every where executes the words of God, and Who gives the seed [p. Bede : But in a mystical sense, it may thus be expressed; that the disciples of John and the Pharisees fast, because every man who boasts of the works of the law without faith, who follows the traditions of men, and receives the preaching of Christ with his bodily ear, and not by the faith of the heart, keeps aloof from spiritual goods, and wastes away with a fasting soul.

But he who is incorporated into the members of Christ by a faithful love cannot fast, because he feasts upon His Body and Blood. But for these, who are about to hand down to men new and wonderful observances, it is not necessary to observe the old traditions, but to be virtuous in mind; some time or other however they will observe fasting with other virtues. But this fasting is different from the fasting of the law, for that was one of restraint, this of goodwill; on account of the fervour of the Spirit, Whom they cannot yet receive.

Bede : For He compares His disciples to old bottles, who would burst at spiritual precepts, rather than be held in [p. But they will be new bottles, when after the ascension of the Lord, they are renewed by desiring His consolation, and then new wine will come to the new bottles, that is, the fervour of the Holy Ghost will fill the hearts of spiritual men. A teacher must also take heed not to commit the hidden things of the new mysteries to a soul, hardened in old wickedness. Theophylact : Or else the disciples are likened to old garments on account of the infirmity of their minds, on which it was not fitting to impose the heavy command of fasting.

Bede : Neither was it fitting to sew on a new piece; that is, a portion of doctrine which teaches a general fast from all the joy of temporal delights; for if this be done, the teaching is rent, and agrees not with the old part. But by a new garment is intended good works, which are done externally, and by the new wine, is expressed the fervour of faith, hope, and charity, by which we are reformed in our minds.

And it came to pass, that He went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. How he went into the house of God, in the days of Abiathar the High Priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

The Pharisees however, serving the figure and the shadow, accused the disciples of doing wrong. Augustine , de Op. For the man who had touched nothing else but what he had eaten they were commanded to allow to go away free and unpunished. Theophylact : For David, when flying from the face of Saul [1 Sam 21] went to the Chief Priest, and ate the shew-bread, and took away the sword of Goliath, which things had been offered to the Lord.

But a question has been raised how the Evangelist called Abiathar at this time High Priest, when the Book of Kings calls him Abimelech. Bede : There is, however, no discrepancy, for both were there, when David came to ask for bread, and received it: that is to say, Abimelech, the High Priest, and Abiathar his son; but Abimelech having been slain by Saul, Abiathar fled to David, and became the companion of all his exile afterwards. When he came to the throne, he himself also received the rank of High Priest, and the son became of much greater excellence than the father, and therefore was worthy to be mentioned as the High Priest, [p.

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For greater is the care to be taken of the health and life of a man, than the keeping of the sabbath. Therefore the sabbath was ordered to be observed in such a way, that, if there were a neccesity, he should not be guilty, who broke the sabbath-day; therefore it was not forbidden to circumcise on the sabbath, because that was a necessary work. And the Maccabees, when necessity pressed on them, fought on the sabbath-day. Wherefore, His disciples being hungry, what was not allowed in the law became lawful through their necessity of hunger; as now, if a sick man break a fast, he is not held guilty in any way.

Now the law has no authority over the Lawgiver and Lord, for more is allowed the king, than is appointed by the law. The law is given to the weak indeed, but not to the perfect and to those who work above what the law enjoins. Bede : But in a mystical sense the disciples pass through the corn fields, when the holy doctors look with the care of a pious solicitude upon those whom they have initiated in the faith, and who, it is implied, are hungering for the best of all things, the salvation of men.

But to pluck the ears of corn means to snatch men away from the eager desire of earthly things. And to rub with the hands is by example of virtue to put from the purity of their minds the concupiscence of the flesh, as men do husks. To eat the grains is when a man, cleansed from the filth of vice by the mouths of preachers, is incorporated amongst the members of the Church. Again, fitly are the disciples related to have done this, walking before the face of the Lord, for it is necessary that the discourse of the doctor should come first, although the grace of visitation from on high, following it, must enlighten the heart of the hearer.

As well, on the sabbath-day, for the doctors themselves in [p. Theophylact : Or else, because when they have rest from their passions, then are they made doctors to lead others to virtue, plucking away from them earthly things. Bede : Again, they walk through the corn fields with the Lord, who rejoice in meditating upon His sacred words. They hunger, when they desire to find in them the bread of life; and they hunger on sabbath days, as soon as their minds are in a soothing rest, and they rejoice in freedom from troubled thoughts; they pluck the ears of corn, and by rubbing, cleanse them, till they come to what is fit to eat, when by meditation they take to themselves the witness of the Scriptures, to which they arrive by reading, and discuss them continually, until they find in them the marrow of love; this refreshment of the mind is truly unpleasing to fools, but is approved by the Lord.

Gospel of Mark, Chapter 3. And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse Him. Theophylact : After confounding the Jews, who had blamed His disciples, for pulling the ears of corn on the sabbath day, by the example of David, the Lord now further bringing them to the truth, works a miracle on the sabbath; shewing that, if it is a pious deed to work miracles on the sabbath for the health of men, it is not wrong to do on the sabbath thing necessary for the body.

And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the sabbath-day; that they might accuse Him. Bede : And anticipating the calumny of the Jews, which they had prepared for Him, He accused them of violating the precepts of the law, by a wrong interpretation. Not that God, Who is in the highest degree good, can be the author of perdition to us, but that His not saving is in the language of Scripture to destroy.

Therefore we must understand that they first asked the Lord, if it was lawful to heal on the sabbath-day, then that understanding their thoughts, and that they were seeking an opportunity to accuse Him, He placed in the middle him whom He was about to cure, and put those questions, which Mark and Luke relate. We must then suppose, that when they were silent, He propounded the parable of the sheep, and concluded, that it was lawful to do good on the sabbath-day.

His looking round upon them in anger, and being saddened at the blindness of their hearts, is fitting for His humanity, which He deigned to take upon Himself for us. He connects the working of the miracle with a word, which proves that the man is cured by His voice alone.

Bede : But mystically, the man with a withered hand shews the human race, dried up as to its fruitfulness in good works, but now cured by the mercy of the Lord; the hand of man, which in our first parent had been dried up when he plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree, through the grace of the Redeemer, Who stretched His guiltless hands on the tree of the cross, has been restored to health by the juices of good works. Well too was it in the synagogue that the hand was withered; for where the gift of knowledge is greater, there also the danger of inexcusable guilt is greater. Pseudo-Jerome : Or else it means the avaricious, who, being able to give had rather receive, and love robbery rather than making gifts.

Theophylact : Or, he had his right hand withered, who does not the works which belong to the right side; for from the time that our hand is employed in forbidden deeds, from that time it is withered to the working of good. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. But Jesus withdrew Himself with His disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed Him, and from Judaea , [p.

And from Jerusalem , and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon , a great multitude, when they had heard what great things He did, came unto Him. And He spake to His disciples, that a small ship should wait on Him, because of the multitude, lest they should throng Him. For He had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon Him for to touch Him, as many as had plagues. And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known. As if every one amongst them did not greater things on the sabbath day, carrying food, reaching forth a cup, and whatever else is necessary for meals.

Neither could He, Who said and it was done, be convicted of toiling on the sabbath day. Theophylact : But the soldiers of Herod the king are called Herodians, because a certain new heresy had sprung up, which asserted that Herod was the Christ. For the prophecy of Jacob intimated that when the princes of Judah failed then Christ should come; because therefore in the time of Herod none of the Jewish princes remained, and he, an alien, was the sole ruler, some thought that he was the Christ, and set on foot this heresy.

These, therefore, were with the Pharisees trying to kill Christ. Bede : Or else he calls Herodians the servants of Herod the Tetrarch, who on account of the hatred which their lord had for John, pursued with treachery and hate the Saviour also, Whom John preached. By which also He gave an example to His disciples, when they suffer persecution in one city, to flee to another.

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Bede : For the strangers followed Him, because they saw the works of His powers, and in order to hear the words of His teaching. But the Jews, induced solely by their opinion of His powers, in a vast multitude come to hear Him, and to beg for His aiding health. Theophylact : Consider then how He hid His glory, for He begs for a little ship, lest the crowd should hurt Him, so that entering into it, He might remain unharmed. But he means by scourges, diseases, for God scourges us, as a father does His children. Bede : Both therefore fell down before the Lord, those who had the plagues of bodily diseases, and those who were vexed by unclean spirits.

The sick did this simply with the intention of obtaining health, but the demoniacs, or rather the devils within them, because under the mastery of a fear of God they were compelled not only to fall down before Him but also to praise His majesty. And here we must wonder at the blindness of the Arians, who, after the glory of His resurrection, deny the Son of God, Whom the devils confess to be the Son of God, though still clothed with human flesh.


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But not only devils, but persons healed by Christ, and even Apostles, are ordered to be silent concerning Him before the Passion, lest by the preaching of the majesty of His Divinity, the economy of His Passion should be retarded. For the nations, driven about in divers by-paths of error, are fitly compared to the unstable sea. Again, a great crowd from various provinces followed Him, because He has received with kindness many nations, who came to Him through the preaching of the Apostles.

But the ship waiting upon the Lord in the sea is the Church, collected from amongst the nations; and He goes into it lest the crowd should throng Him, because flying from the troubled minds of carnal persons, He delights to come to those who despise the glory of this world, and to dwell within them. Further, there is a difference between thronging the Lord, and touching Him; for they throng Him, when by carnal thoughts and deeds they trouble peace, in which truth dwells; but he touches Him, who by faith and love has received Him into his heart; wherefore those who touched Him are said to have been saved.

Theophylact : Morally again, the Herodians, that is, persons who love the lusts of the flesh, wish to slay Christ. But those who quit their country, that is, a carnal mode of living, follow Christ, and their plagues are healed, that is, the sins which wound their conscience. But Jesus in us is our reason, which commands that our vessel, that is, our body, should serve Him, lest the troubles of worldly affairs should press upon our reason.

And He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, [p. And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:. And Simon He surnamed Peter;. And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed Him. Theophylact : Luke, however, says that He went up to pray, for after the shewing forth of miracles He prays, teaching us that we should give thanks, when we obtain any thing good, and refer it to Divine grace.

When therefore, according to Luke, it was day, He called whom He would; for there were many who followed Him. Bede : For it was not a matter of their choice and zeal, but of Divine condescension and grace, that they should be called to the Apostleship. The mount also in which the Lord chose His Apostles, shews the lofty righteousness in which they were to be instructed, and which they were about to preach to men. Pseudo-Jerome : Or spiritually, Christ is the mount, from which living waters flow, and milk is procured for the health of infants; whence the spiritual feast of fat things is made known, and whatsoever is believed to be most highly good is established by the grace of that Mountain.

Those therefore who are highly exalted in merits and in words are called up into a mountain, that the place may correspond to the loftiness of their merits. Bede : For as a sacrament of this the children of Israel once used to encamp about the Tabernacle, so that on each of the four sides of the square three tribes were stationed.

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Now three times four are twelve, and in three bands of four the Apostles were sent to preach, that through the four quarters of the whole world they might baptize the nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Theophylact : Further, He gives the names of the Apostles, that the true Apostles might be known, so that men might avoid the false. But Mark gives this account by way of recapitulation; for as he wished to give the names of the twelve Apostles, and was obliged to call him, Peter, his object was to intimate briefly, that he was not called this originally, but that the Lord gave him that name.

Bede : And the reason that the Lord willed that he should at first be called otherwise, was that from the change itself of the name, a mystery might be conveyed to us. Peter then in Latin or in Greek means the same thing as Cephas in Hebrew, and in each language the name is drawn from, a stone. Pseudo-Jerome : Thus from obedience, which Simon signifies, the ascent is made to knowledge, which is meant by Peter. Pseudo-Jerome , Gen. We know that this mode of speaking belongs to holy Scripture; for Hebrew names are put down in order to intimate a mystery.

Bede : But Thaddaeus is the same person, as Luke calls in the Gospel and in the Acts, Jude of James, for he was the brother of James, the brother of the Lord, as he himself has written in his Epistle. He has added this by way of distinction from Simon Peter, and Jude the brother of James. Simon is called the Canaanite from Cana, a village in Galilee , and Judas, Scariotes, from the village from which he had his origin, or he is so called from the tribe of Issachar. Theophylact : Whom he reckons amongst the Apostles, that we may learn that God does not repel any man for wickedness, which is future, but counts him worthy on account of his present virtue.

And he is called Canaanite, that is, Zealot, because the zeal of the Lord ate him up. But Judas Iscariot is one who does not do away his sins by repentance. And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. Bede : the Lord leads the Apostles, when they were elected, into a house, as if admonishing them, that after [p.

Bede : And blessed indeed the concourse of the crowd, flocking together, whose anxiety to obtain salvation was so great, that they left not the Author of salvation even an hour free to take food. But Him, whom a crowd of strangers loves to follow, His relations hold in little esteem. For since they could not take in the depth of wisdom, which they heard, they thought that He was speaking in a senseless way. Theophylact : That is, He has a devil and is mad, and therefore they wished to lay hold upon Him, that they might shut Him up as one who had a devil.

And even His friends wished to do this, that is, His relations, perchance His countrymen, or His brethren. But it was a silly insanity in them, to conceive that the Worker of such great miracles of Divine Wisdom had become mad. Pseudo-Jerome : But mystically, the house to which they came, is the early Church. Bede : The Scribes also coming down from Jerusalem blaspheme.

But the multitude from Jerusalem, and from other regions of Judaea, or of the [p. And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:. But their kingdom consists in keeping men under their dominion.

If therefore they are driven away from men, it amounts to nothing less [p. But if they still hold their power over men, it is manifest that the kingdom of evil is still standing, and Satan is not divided against himself. Theophylact : The meaning of the example is this: The devil is the strong man; his goods are the men into whom he is received; unless therefore a man first conquers the devil, how can he deprive him of his goods, that is, of the men whom he has possessed?

So also I who spoil his goods, that is, free men from suffering by his possession, first spoil the devils and vanquish them, and am their enemy. How then can ye say that I have Beelzebub and that being the friend of the devils, I cast them out? Or, He has spoiled his house, because the four parts of the world, over which the old enemy had sway, He has distributed to the Apostles and their successors, that they may convert the people to the way of life. Now blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is against God, for the operation of the Holy Ghost is the kingdom of God ; and for this reason, He says, that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost cannot be remitted.

For the law orders one who blasphemes God to be slain, and in the judgment of the second law he has no remission. However, he who is baptized is taken out of this world; but the Jews were ignorant of the remission which takes place in baptism. The missing of the whole is, that though there is no remission either in this world or in the next, yet that baptism is, as it were, a space between the two worlds, where remission can be obtained. He therefore who refers to the devil miracles, and the casting out of devils which belong to the Holy Ghost alone, has no room left him for remission of his blasphemy.

Neither does it appear that such a blasphemy as this is remitted, since it is against the Holy Ghost. Theophylact : We must however understand, that they will not obtain pardon unless they repent. But since it was at the flesh of Christ that they were offended, even though they did not repent, some excuse was allowed them, and they obtained some remission.

Pseudo-Jerome : Or this is meant; that he will not deserve to work out repentance, so as to be accepted, who, understanding who Christ was, declared that He was the prince of the devils. Bede : Neither however are those, who do not believe the Holy Spirit to be God, guilty of an unpardonable blasphemy, because they were persuaded to do this by human ignorance, not by devilish malice. Augustine , Serm.

For either in his thought [p. For in another place, the Jews said of the Lord, that He had a devil [John ], without however His saying any thing there about the blasphemy against the Spirit; and the reason is, that they did not there cast in His teeth the unclean spirit, in such a way, that spirit could by their own words be shewn to be divided against Himself, as Beelzebub was here shewn to be, by their saying, that it might be he who cast out devils. Augustine explains his meaning by going on to say, that as the Devil was proved by the words of the Jews to be the author of division, so the Holy Ghost was the author of unity, so that one form of blasphemy of the Holy Ghost was rending the unity of the Church, without which there is no remission.

Ambrose, something in the same way, applies the text to the Arians, as dividing the Holy Trinity, de Fide, i, 1.

There came then His brethren, and His mother, and, standing without, sent unto Him, calling Him. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother. Theophylact : Because the relations of the Lord had come to seize upon Him, as if beside Himself, His mother, urged by the sympathy of her love, came to Him. Bede : The brother of the Lord must not be thought to be the sons of the ever-virgin Mary, as Helvidius says [ed. For an account of the heretics who denied it, see Bp.

Pearson on the Creed, Art, 3, p. But He does not here mention His mother and His brethren altogether with reproof, but to shew that a man must honour his own soul above all earthly kindred; wherefore this is fitly said to those who called Him to speak with His mother and relations, as if it were a more useful task than the teaching of salvation. Bede ; see Ambr. Nor does He rudely despise His brothers, but, preferring His spiritual work to fleshly relationship, He teaches us that religion is the bond of the heart rather than that of the body.

A man indeed is made the mother of Jesus by preaching Him [ed. Ambrose, in Luc. Pseudo-Jerome : But let us be assured that we are His brethren and His sisters, if we do the will of the Father; that we may be joint-heirs with Him, for He discerns us not by sex but by our deeds. Theophylact : He does not therefore say this, as denying His mother, but as shewing that He is worthy of honour, not only because she bore Christ, but on account of her possessing every other virtue.

Bede : By mystically, the mother and brother of Jesus means the synagogue, from which according to the flesh He sprung, and the Jewish people who, while the Saviour is teaching within, come to Him, and are not able to enter, because they cannot understand spiritual things. But the crowd eagerly enter, because when the Jews delayed, the Gentiles flocked to Christ; but His kindred, who stand without wishing to see the Lord, are the Jews who obstinately remained without, guarding the letter, and would rather compel the Lord to go forth to them to teach carnal things, than consent to enter in to learn spiritual things of Him.

If therefore not even His parents when standing without are acknowledged, how shall we be acknowledged, if we stand without? And Jesus began to teach again by the sea-side: and there was gathered unto Him a great multitude, so that He entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.

And He taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in His doctrine:. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.

And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him the parable. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; [p. The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.

And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Theophylact : Although the Lord appears in the transactions mentioned above to neglect His mother, nevertheless He honours her; since on her account He goes forth about the borders of the sea. Pseudo-Jerome : But He began to teach at the sea, that the [p. Bede : After leaving the house also, He began to teach at the sea, because, quitting the synagogue, He came to gather together the multitude of the Gentile people by the Apostles.

Bede : Now this ship shewed in a figure the Church, to be built in the midst of the nations, in which the Lord consecrates for Himself a beloved dwelling-place. Pseudo-Jerome : A parable is a comparison made between things discordant by nature, under some similitude. For parable is the Greek for a similitude, when we point out by some comparisons what we would have understood. In this way we say an iron man, when we desire that he should be understood to be hardy and strong; when to be swift, we compare him to winds and birds.

But He speaks to the multitudes in parables, with His usual providence, that those who could not take in heavenly things, might conceive what they heard by an earthly similitude. Theophylact : And in order to rouse the attention of those who heard, the first parable that He proposes is concerning the seed, which is the word of God. Now the Sower is Christ. For since we were not able to go to Him, because sins impeded our path, He went out to us. But He went out, preaching in order to sow the word of piety, which He spake abundantly. But this one went out to sow. Theophylact : Take notice, that He says not that He threw it in the way, but that it fell, for a sower, as far as he can, throws it into good ground, but if the ground be bad, it corrupts the seed.

Now the way is Christ; but infidels are by the way-side, that is, out of Christ. Bede : Or else, the way is a mind which is a path for bad thoughts, preventing the seed of the word from growing in it. And therefore whatsoever good seed comes in contact with such a way, perishes, and is carried off by devils.

And well are the devils called fowls of the air, either because they are of a heavenly and spiritual origin, or because they dwell in the air. Or else, those who are about the way are negligent and slothful men. He calls stone, the hardness of a wanton mind; He calls ground, the inconstancy of a soul in its obedience; and sun, the heat of a raging persecution. Therefore the depth of earth, which ought to have received the seed of God, is the honesty of a mind trained in heavenly discipline, and regularly brought up in obedience to the Divine words.

But the stony places, which have no strength for fixing the root firmly, are those breasts which are delighted only with the sweetness of the word which they hear, and for a time with the heavenly promises, but in a season of temptation fall away, for there is too little of healthful desire in them to conceive the seed of life. Theophylact : Or, the stony persons are those who adhering a little to the rock, that is, to Christ, up to a short time, receive the word, and afterwards, falling back, cast it away.

For thorns are cares. But great is the love of the Sower for men, for the first He commends, and rejects not the second, and gives a place to the third. Theophylact : See also how the bad are the greatest number, and the few are those who are saved, for the fourth part of the ground is found to be saved.

And indeed the real husbandman, if he sowed in this way, would be rightly blamed; for he is not ignorant that rock, or the road, or thorny ground, cannot become fertile. But in spiritual things it is not so; for there it is possible that stony ground may become fertile; and that the road should not be trodden down, and that the thorns may be destroyed, for if this could not take place, he would not have sown there.

By this, therefore, He gives to us hope of repentance. Bede : As often as this is inserted in the Gospel or in the Apocalypse of John, that which is spoken is mystical, and is pointed out as healthful to be heard and learnt. The text of this post originated on the Logos Forums. It was written by Rosie Perera, who is a Logos MVP and has great insight on a wide array of topics and issues, both theological and technical. Rosie has given me permission to reproduce her forum post here to try to bring some more attention to Community Pricing — a great way to get cheap books — and to highlight one of those presently very, very cheap books that may soon be a bit more expensive: Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels by Thomas Aquinas 8 vols.

Community Pricing is an awesome way to get works for the least expensive price imaginable. It has been well said that they are exegetical anthologies. Why should we care to read or at least have reference access to these writings? Perhaps Protestants in particular might be asking this question.

The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea) The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)
The Golden Chain: John (Catena Aurea)

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