Golden Chain MT-MK 7426
7426 Mc 14,26-31
Theophylact: As they returned thanks, before they drank, so they return thanks after drinking; wherefore it is said, "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives," to teach us to return thanks both before and after our food.
Pseudo-Jerome: For by a hymn he means the praise of the Lord, as is said in the Psalms (Ps 22, 26, 29), "The poor shall eat and be satisfied; they that seek after the Lord shall praise Him." And again, "All such as be fat upon earth have eaten and worshipped."
Theophylact: He also shews by this that He was glad to die for us, because when about to be betrayed, He deigned to praise God. He also teaches us when we fall into troubles for the sake of the salvation of many, not to be sad, but to give thanks to God, Who through our distress works the salvation of many.
Bede: That hymn in the Gospel of John may also be meant, which the Lord sang, returning thanks to the Father, in which also He (p. 290) prayed, raising His eyes to Heaven, for Himself and His disciples, and those who were to believe, through their word.
Theophylact: Again, He went out into a mountain, that they might come to Him in a lonely place, and take Him without tumult. For if they had come to Him, whilst He was abiding in the city, the multitude of the people would have been in an uproar, and then His enemies, who took occasion against Him, should seem to have slain Him justly, because He stirred up the people.
Bede: Beautifully also does the Lord lead out His disciples, when they had tasted His Sacraments, into the mount of Olives, to shew typically that we ought through the reception of the Sacraments to rise up to higher gifts of virtue, and graces of the Holy Ghost, that we may be anointed in heart.
Pseudo-Jerome: Jesus also is held captive on the mount of Olives, whence He ascended to Heaven, that we may know, that we ascend into Heaven from that place in which we watch and pray; there we are bound and do not tend back again to earth.
Bede: But the Lord foretells to His disciples what is about to happen to them, that when they have gone through it, they may not despair of salvation, but work out their repentance, and be freed.
Wherefore there follows: "And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of Me this night."
Pseudo-Jerome: All indeed fall, but all do not remain fallen. For shall not he who sleeps also rise up again? (Ps 40,9) It is a carnal thing to fall, but devilish to remain lying when fallen.
Theophylact: The Lord allowed them to fall that they might not trust in themselves, and lest He should seem to have prophesied, what He had said, as an open accusation of them, He brings forward the witness of Zechariah the Prophet; wherefore it goes on: "For it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered." (Za 13,7)
Bede: This is written in different words in Zecharias, and in the person of the Prophet it is said to the Lord, "Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered."
Pseudo-Jerome: For the Prophet prays for the Passion of the Lord, and the Father answers, I will smite the shepherd according to the prayers of those below. The Son is sent and smitten by the Father, that is, He is made Incarnate and suffers.
Theophylact: But the Father say, "I will smite the shepherd," because He permitted him to be smitten. He calls the (p. 291) disciples sheep, as being innocent and without guile. At last He consoles them, by saying, "But after that I am risen I will go before you into Galilee."
Pseudo-Jerome: In which the true Resurrection is promised, that their hope may not be extinguished. There follows: "But Peter said unto Him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I." Lo a bird unfledged strives to raise itself on high; but the body weighs down the soul, so that the fear of the Lord is overcome by the fear of human death.
Bede: Peter then promised in the ardour of his faith, and the Saviour as God knew what was to happen.
Wherefore it goes on: "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice."
Augustine, de Con. Even. iii, 2: Though all the Evangelists say that the Lord foretold that Peter was to deny before the cock crew, Mark alone has related it more minutely, wherefore some from inattention suppose that he does not agree with the others.
For the whole of Peter's denial is threefold; if it had begun altogether after the cock crew, the other three Evangelist would seem to have spoken falsely, in saying, that before the cock crew, he would deny Him thrice. Again, if he had finished the entire threefold denial before the cock began to crow, Mark would in the person of the Lord seem to have said needlessly, "Before the cock crow twice, thou shall deny Me thrice."
But because that threefold denial began before the first cock-crowing, the other three did not notice when Peter was to finish it, but how great it was to be, that is, threefold, and when it was to begin, that is, before the cock crew, although the whole was conceived in his mind, even before the first cock crew; but Mark has related more plainly the interval between his words themselves.
Theophylact: We are to understand that it happened thus; Peter denied once, then the cock crew for the second time.
Pseudo-Jerome: Who is the cock, the harbinger of day, but the Holy Ghost? by whose voice in prophecy, and in the Apostles, we are roused from our threefold denial, to most bitter tears after our fall, for we have thought evil of God, spoken evil of our neighbours, and done evil to ourselves.
Bede: The faith of the Apostle Peter, and his (p. 292) burning love for our Lord, is shewn in what follows.
For it goes on: "But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise."
Theophylact: The other disciples also shewed a fearless zeal. For there follows, "Likewise also said they all," but nevertheless they acted against the truth, which Christ had prophesied.
7432 Mc 14,32-42
Gloss: After that the Lord had foretold the offence of His disciples, the Evangelist gives an account of His prayer, in which He is supposed to have prayed for His disciples; and first describing the place of prayer, he says, "And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane."
Bede: The place Gethsemane, in which the Lord prayed, is shewn up to this day at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The meaning of Gethsemane is, the valley of the fat, or of fatness. Now when our Lord prays on a mountain, He teaches us that we should when we pray ask for lofty things; but by praying in the valley of fatness, He implies that in our prayer humility and the fatness of interior love must be kept. He also by the valley of humility and the fatness of charity underwent death for us.
Pseudo-Jerome: In the valley of fatness also, the fat bulls beset Him. There follows, "And He saith to His disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray;" they are separated from Him in prayer, who are separated in His Passion; for He prays, they sleep, overcome by the sloth of their heart.
Theophylact: It was also His custom always to pray by Himself, in order to give us an example, to seek for silence and solitude in our prayers. There follows: "And He taketh with Him Peter, and James and John." He takes only those who had been witnesses of His glory on Mount Tabor, that they who had seen His glory might also see His sufferings, and learn that He is really man, in that He is sorrowful.
Wherefore there follows: "And began to be sore amazed, and very heavy." For since He had taken on Himself the whole of human nature, He took also those natural things which belong to man, amazement, heaviness, and sorrow; for men are naturally unwilling to die.
Wherefore it goes on: "And He saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death."
Bede: As being God, dwelling in the body, He shews the frailty of flesh, that the blasphemy of those who deny the Mystery of His Incarnation might find no place; for having taken up a body, He must needs also take up all that belongs to the body, hunger, thirst, pain, grief; for the Godhead cannot suffer the changes of those affections.
Theophylact: (p. 294) but some have understood this, as if He had said, I am sorrowful, not because I am to die, but because the Jews, My countrymen, are about to crucify Me, and by these means to be shut out from the kingdom of God.
Pseudo-Jerome: By this also we are taught to fear and to be sorrowful before the judgment of death, for not by ourselves, but by Him only, can we say, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." (Jn 14,30)
There follows: "Tarry ye, here, and watch."
Bede: He does not mean natural sleep by the sleep which He forbids, for the time of approaching danger did not allow of it, but the sleep of unfaithfulness, and the torpor of the mind. But going forward a little, He falls on His face, and shews His lowliness of mind, by the posture of His body.
Wherefore there follows: "And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him."
Augustine, de Con. iii, iv: He said not, if He could do it, but if it could be done; for whatever He wills is possible. We must therefore understand, "if it be possible," as if it were; if He is willing. And lest any one should suppose that He lessened His Father's power, He shews in what sense the words are to be understood; for there follows, "And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee."
By which He sufficiently shows that the words, "if it be possible," must be understood not of any impossibility, but of the Will of His Father. As to what Mark relates that He said not only Father, but "Abba, Father", Abba is the Hebrew for Father. And perhaps the Lord said both words, on account of some Sacrament contained in them; wishing to shew that He had taken upon Himself that sorrow in the person of His body, The Church, to which He was made the chief cornerstone, and which came to Him, partly from the Hebrews, who are represented by the word, "Abba", partly from the Gentiles, to whom "Father" belongs.
Bede: But He prays, that the cup may pass away, to shew that He is very man, wherefore He adds: "Take away this cup from Me." But remembering why He was sent, He accomplishes the dispensation for which He was sent, and cries out, "But not what I Will, but what Thou Wilt." As if He had said, If death can die, without My dying according to the flesh, let this cup pass away; but since this cannot be otherwise, "not what I Will, but what (p. 295) Thou Wilt."
Many still are sad at the prospect of death, but let them keep their heart right, and avoid death as much as they can; but if they cannot, then let them say what the Lord said of us.
Pseudo-Jerome: By which also He ceases not up to the end to teach us to obey our fathers, and to prefer their will to ours. There follows: "And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping." For as they are asleep in mind, so also in body.
Theophylact: But after His prayer, the Lord coming, and seeing His disciples sleeping, rebukes Peter alone. Wherefore it goes on: "And saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch with me one hour?
As if He had said, If thou couldest not watch one hour with me, how wilt thou be able to despise death, thou who promisest to die with Me?
It goes on: "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation," that is, the temptation of denying Me.
Bede: He does not say, Pray that ye may not be tempted, because it is impossible for the human mind not to be tempted, but that ye enter not into temptation, that is, that temptation may not vanquish you.
Pseudo-Jerome: But he is said to enter into temptation, who neglects to pray.
There follows: "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Theophylact: As if He had said, Your spirit indeed is ready not to deny me, and for this reason ye promise; but your flesh is weak, in that unless God give power to your flesh through prayer, ye shall enter into temptation.
Bede: He here represses the rash, who think that they can compass whatever they are confident about. But in proportion as we are confident from the ardour of our mind, so let us fear from the weakness of our flesh.
For this place makes against those, who say that there was but one operation in the Lord and one Will. For He shews two wills, one human, which from the weakness of the flesh shrinks from suffering; one divine, which is most ready.
It goes on: "And again He went away and prayed, and spake the same words."
Theophylact: That by His second prayer He might shew Himself to be very man. It goes on: "And when He returned, He found them asleep again;" He however did not rebuke them severely. "For their eyes were heavy, (that is, with sleep,) neither wist they what to answers Him." By this learn the weakness of men, and (p. 296) let us not, whom even sleep can overcome, promise things which are impossible to us. Therefore He goes away the third time to pray the prayer mentioned above.
Wherefore it goes on: "And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest." He is not vehement against them, though after His rebuke they had done worse, but He tells them ironically, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," because He knew that the betrayer was now close at hand. And that He spoke ironically is evident, by what is added; "It is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners." He speaks this, as deriding their sleep, as if He had said; Now indeed is a time for sleep, when the traitor is approaching.
Then He says; "Arise, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth Me is at hand."
Augustine: Or else; In that it is said, that after He had spoken these words, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," He added, "It is enough," and then, "the hour is come; behold, the Son of Man is betrayed," we must understand that after saying, "Sleep on now, and take your rest," our Lord remained silent for a short time, to give space for that to happen, which He had permitted; and then that He added, "the hour is come;" and therefore He puts in between, "it is enough," that is, your rest has been long enough.
Pseudo-Jerome: The threefold sleep of the disciples points out the three dead, whom our Lord raised up; the first, in a house; the second, at the tomb; the third, from the tomb. And the threefold watch of the Lord teaches us in our prayers, to beg for the pardon of past, future and present sins.
7443 Mc 14,43-52
(p. 297) Bede: After that our Lord had prayed three times, and had obtained by His prayers that the fear of the Apostles should be amended by future repentance, He, being tranquil as to His Passion, goes to His persecutors, concerning the coming of whom the Evangelist says, "And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas Iscariot, on of the twelve."
Theophylact: This is not put without reason, but to the greater conviction of the traitor, since though he was of the chief company amongst the disciples, he turned himself to furious enmity against our Lord.
There follows: "And with him a great multitude with swords and staves from the Chief Priests and the Scribes and the elders."
Pseudo-Jerome: For he who despairs of help from God, has recourse to the power of the world.
Bede: But Judas had still something of the shame of a disciple, for he did not openly betray Him to His persecutors, but by the token of a kiss.
Wherefore it goes on: "And he that betrayed Him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, (p. 298) and lead him away safely."
Theophylact: See how in his blindness he thought to deceive Christ by the kiss, so as to be looked upon by Him as His friend. But if thou wert a friend, Judas, how didst thou come with His enemies? But wickedness is ever without foresight.
It goes on: "And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to Him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed Him."
Pseudo-Jerome: Judas gives the kiss as a token, with poisonous guile, just as Cain offered a crafty, reprobate sacrifice.
Bede: With envy and with a wicked confidence, he calls Him master, and gives Him a kiss, in betraying Him. But the Lord receives the kiss of the traitor, not to teach us to deceive, but lest he should seem to avoid betrayal, and at the same time to fulfil that Psalm, "Among them that are enemies unto peace, I labour for peace." (Ps 120,5)
It goes on: "And they laid hands on Him, and took Him."
Pseudo-Jerome: This is the Joseph who was sold by his brethren (Ps 105,18), and into whose soul the iron entered. (note: this passage not found in the Venice ed. of the Pseudo-Jerome)
There follows: "And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the High Priest, and cut off his ear."
Bede: Peter did this, as John declares, with the same ardent mind with which he did all things; for he knew how Phineas had by punishing sacrilegious persons received the reward of righteousness and of perpetual priesthood.
Theophylact: Mark conceals his name, lest he should seem to be praising his master for his zeal for Christ. Again, the action of Peter points out that they were disobedient and unbelieving, despising the Scriptures; for if they had ears to hear the Scriptures, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But he cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest, for the Chief Priests especially passed over the Scriptures, like disobedient servants.
It goes on: "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?"
Bede: As if He had said, it is foolish to seek with swords and staves Him, who offers Himself to you of His own accord, and to search, as for one who hides Himself, by night and by means of a traitor, for Him who taught daily in the temple.
Theophylact: This, however, is a proof of His divinity, for when He taught in the temple they were unable to take Him, (p. 299) although He was in their power, because the time of His Passion had not yet come; but when He Himself was willing, then He gave Himself up, that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, "for he was led as a lamb to the slaughter," not crying nor raising His voice, but suffering willingly.
It goes on: "And they all forsook Him and fled."
Bede: In this is fulfilled the word, which the Lord had spoken, that all His disciples should be offended in Him that same night.
There follows: "And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body," that is, he had no other clothing but this linen cloth.
It goes on: "And they laid hold on him, and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked." That is, he fled from them, whose presence and whose deeds he abhorred, not from the Lord, for Whom his love remained fixed in his mind, when absent from Him in body.
Pseudo-Jerome: Just as Joseph left his mantle behind him, and fled naked from the wanton woman; so also let him, who would escape the hands of the evil ones, quit in mind all that is of the world, and fly after Jesus.
Theophylact: It appears probable that this young man was of that house, where they had eaten the Passover. But some say that this young man was James, the brother of our Lord, who was called Just; who after the ascension of Christ received from the Apostles the throne of the bishopric of Jerusalem.
Greg., Mor. 14, 49: Or, he says this of John, who, although he afterwards returned to the cross to hear the words of the Redeemer, at first was frightened and fled.
Bede: For that he was a young man at that time, is evident from his long sojourn in the flesh. Perhaps he escaped from the hands of those who held him for the time, and afterwards got back his garment and returned, mingling under cover of the darkness with those who were leading Jesus, as though he was one of them, until he arrived at the door of the High Priest, to whom he was known, as he himself testifies in the Gospel. But as Peter, who washed away the sin of his denial with the tears of penitence, shews the recovery of those who fall away in time of martyrdom, so the other disciples who prevented their actual seizure, teach the prudence of flight to those who feel themselves unequal to undergo tortures. (p. 300)
7453 Mc 14,53-59
Gloss: The Evangelist had related above how our Lord had been taken by the servants of the Priests. Now he begins to relate how He was condemned to death in the house of the High Priest.
Wherefore it is said: "And they led Jesus away to the High Priest."
Bede: He means by the High Priest, Caiaphas, who (as John writes) was High Priest that year, of whom Josephus relates that he bought his priesthood of the Roman Emperor.
There follows: "And with him were assembled all the Chief Priests and the elders and the scribes."
Pseudo-Jerome: Then took place the gathering together of the bulls among the heifers of the people. (Ps 67,31, Vulgate)
It goes on: "And Peter followed Him afar off, even into the palace of the High Priest."
For though fear holds him back, love draws him on.
Bede: But rightly does he follow afar off, who is just about to betray Him; for he could not have denied Christ if he had remained close to Him.
There follows: "And he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire."
Pseudo-Jerome: He warms himself at the fire in the hall, with the servants. The hall of the High Priest is the enclosure of the world, the servants are the devils, with (p. 301) whom whosoever remains cannot weep for his sins; the fire is the desire of the flesh.
Bede: For charity is the fire of which it is said, "I am come to send fire on the earth," (Lc 12,49) which flame coming down on the believers, taught them to speak with various tongues the praise of the Lord. There is also a fire of covetousness, of which it is said, "They are all adulterers as an oven:" (Hosea (Osee) 7:4) this fire, raised up in the hall of Caiaphas by the suggestion of an evil spirit, was arming the tongues of the traitors to deny and blaspheme the Lord. For the fire lit up in the hall amidst the cold of the night was a figure of what the wicked assembly was doing within; for because of the abounding of iniquity the love of many waxes cold. (Mt 24,12) Peter, who for a time was benumbed by this cold, wished as it were to be warmed by the coals of the servants of Caiaphas, because He sought in the society of traitors the consolation of worldly comfort.
It goes on: "And the Chief Priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death."
Theophylact: Though the law commanded that there should be but one High Priest, there were then many put into the office, and stripped of it, year by year, by the Roman emperor. He therefore calls chief priests those who had finished the time alloted to them, and had been stripped of their priesthood. But their actions are a sign of their judgment, which they carried on as they had prejudged, for they sought for a witness, that they might seem to condemn and destroy Jesus with justice.
Pseudo-Jerome: But iniquity lied as the queen did against Joseph, and the priests against Susannah, but a flame goes out, if it has no fuel.
Wherefore it goes on: "And found none. For many bare false witness against Him, but their witness agreed not together."
For whatever is not consistent is held to be doubtful.
There follows: "And there arose certain, and bare false witness against Him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands."
It is usual with heretics out of the truth to extract the shadow; He did not say what they said, but something like it, of the temple of His body, which He raised again after two days.
Theophylact: For the Lord had not said, I will destroy, but, "Destroy", nor did He say, made with hands, (p. 302) but, "this temple."
Bede: He had said also, "I will raise up," meaning a thing with life and soul, and a breathing temple. He is a false witness, who understands words in a sense, in which they are not spoken.
7460 Mc 14,60-65
Bede: The more Jesus remained silent before the false witnesses who were unworthy of His answer, and the impious priests, the more the High Priest, overcome with anger, endeavoured to provoke Him to answer, that he might find room for accusing Him, from any thing whatever which He might say.
Wherefore it is said, "And the High Priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?"
The High Priest, angry and impatient at finding no room for accusation against Him, rises from his seat, thus shewing by the motion of his body the madness of his mind.
Pseudo-Jerome: But our God and Saviour Himself, Who brought salvation to the world, and assisted mankind by His love, is led as a sheep to the slaughter, without crying, and remained mute and "kept (p. 103) silence yea even from good words."
Wherefore it goes on, "But He held His peace, and answered nothing."
The silence of Christ is the pardon for the defence or excuse of Adam. (Gn 3,10)
Theophylact: But He remained silent because He knew that they would not attend to His words, wherefore He answered according to Luke, "If I tell you, ye will not believe." (Lc 22,67)
Wherefore there follows: "Again the High Priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
The High Priest indeed puts this question, not that he might learn of Him and believe, but in order to seek occasion against Him. But he asks, "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed," because there were many Christs, that is, anointed persons, as Kings and High Priests, but none of these was called the Son of the Blessed God, that is, the Ever-praised.
Pseudo-Jerome: But they looked from afar off for Him, whom though near they cannot see, as Isaac from the blindness of his eyes does not know Jacob who was under his hands, but prophecies long before things which were to come to him.
It goes on: "Jesus said, I am;" namely, that they might be inexcusable.
Theophylact: For He knew that they would not believe, nevertheless He answered them, lest they should afterwards say, If we had heard any thing from Him, we would have believed on Him; but this is their condemnation, that they heard and did not believe.
Augustine, de Con., iii, 6: Matthew, however, does not say that Jesus answered, "I am," but, "Thou has said." But Mark shews that the words "I am" were equivalent to "Thou hast said."
There follows: "And ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mt 26,64)
Theophylact: As if He had said, Ye shall see Me as the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Father, for He here calls the Father, "power". He will not however come without a body, but as He appeared to those who crucified Him, so will He appear in the judgment.
Bede: If therefore to thee, O Jew, O Pagan, and heretic, the contempt, weakness, and cross in Christ are a subject of scorn, see how by this the Son of Man is to sit at the right hand of the Father, and to come in His majesty on the clouds of heaven.
Pseudo-Jerome: The High Priest indeed asks the Son of God, but Jesus in His answer speaks of the Son of Man, that we may by this understand that the Son of God is also the Son of Man; and let us not make (p. 304) a quaternity (a reference to the charge brought by the Apollinarians against the Catholics, that their doctrine of a divine human substance in our Lord introduced a fourth Person into the Blessed Trinity; it is also answered by St. Ambrose, de Incarnatione, 7, 77 (ed. note?)) in the Trinity, but let man be in God and God in man.
And He said, "Sitting on the right hand of power," that is, reigning in life everlasting, and in the Divine power. He says, "And coming with the clouds of heaven." He ascended in a cloud, He will come with a cloud; that is, He ascended in that body alone, which He took of the Virgin, and He will come to judgment with the whole Church, which is His body and His fulness.
Leo, Sermon 5, de Pass.: But Caiaphas, to increase the odiousness of what they had heard, "rent his clothes," and without knowing what his frantic action meant, by this madness, deprived himself of the honour of the priesthood, forgetting that command, by which it is said of the High Priest, "He shall not uncover his head or rend his clothes." (Lv 21,10)
For there follows: "The High Priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?"
Theophylact: The High Priest does after the manner of the Jews; for whenever any thing intolerable or sad occurred to them, they used to rend their clothes. In order then to shew that Christ had spoken great and intolerable blasphemy, he rent his clothes.
Bede: But it was also with a higher mystery, that in the Passion of our Lord the Jewish priest rent his own clothes, that is, his ephod, whilst the garment of the Lord could not be rent, even by the soldiers, who crucified Him. For it was a figure that the Jewish priesthood was to be rent on account of the wickedness of the priests themselves. But the solid strength of the Church, which is often called the garment of her Redeemer, can never be torn asunder.
Theophylact: The Jewish priesthood was to be rent from the time that they condemned Christ as guilty of death.
Wherefore there follows: "And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death."
Pseudo-Jerome: They condemned Him to be guilty of death, that by His guiltiness He might absolve our guilt.
It goes on: "And some began to spit on Him, and to cover His face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him, Prophecy: and the servants did strike Him with the palms of their hands;" that is, that by being spit upon He might wash the face of (p. 305) our soul, and by the covering of His face, might take away the veil from our hearts, and by the buffets, which were dealt upon His head, might heal the head of mankind, that is, Adam, and by the blows, by which He was smitten with the hands, His great praise might be testified by the clapping of our hands and by our lips, as it is said, "O clap your hands together, all ye people." (Ps 47,1)
Bede: By saying, "Prophesy, who is he that smote thee," they mean to insult Him, because He wished to be looked upon as a prophet by the people.
Augustine: We must understand by this, that the Lord suffered these things till morning, in the house of the High Priest, whither He had first been brought.
7466 Mc 14,66-72
Augustine: Concerning the temptation of Peter, which happened during the injuries mentioned, all the Evangelists do not speak in the same order. For Luke first relates the (p. 306) temptation of Peter, then these injuries of the Lord; but John begins to speak of the temptation of Peter, and then puts in some things concerning our Lord's ill-treatment, and adds, that He was sent from there to Caiaphas the High Priest, and then he goes back to unfold the temptation of Peter, which he had begun.
Matthew and Mark, on the other hand, first notice the injuries done to Christ, then the temptation of Peter.
Concerning which it is said, "And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the High Priest."
Bede: But what can be meant by his being first recognized by a woman, when men were more able to know him, if it be not that that sex might be seen to sin in the death of our Lord, and that sex be redeemed by His Passion?
It goes on: "But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest."
Pseudo-Jerome: Peter when he had not the Spirit yielded and lost courage at the voice of a girl, though with the Spirit he was not afraid before princes and kings.
Theophylact: The Lord allowed this to happen to him by His providence, that is, lest he should be too much elated, and at the same time, that he might prove himself merciful to sinners, as knowing from himself the result of human weakness.
There follows: "And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew."
Bede: The other Evangelists do not mention this crowing of the cock; they do not however deny the fact, as also some pass over many other things in silence, which others relate.
There follows: "And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them."
Augustine (ed. note: for a harmony of this portion of the Gospel, v. Williams on the Passion, p.101): This maid is not the same, but another, as Matthew says. Indeed, we must also understand, that in this second denial he was addressed by two persons, that is, by the maid whom Matthew and Mark mention, and by another person, of whom Luke takes notice.
It goes on: "And he denied it again."
Peter had now returned, for John says that he denied Him again standing at the fire; wherefore the maid said what has been mentioned above, not to him, that is, Peter, but to those who, when he went out, had remained, in such a way however that he heard it; wherefore coming back and standing again at the fire, he contradicted them, and denied their words. For it is evident, if we compare the accounts of all the Evangelists on (p. 307) this matter, that Peter did not the second time deny Him before the porch, but within the palace at the fire, whilst Matthew and Mark who mention his having gone out are silent, for the sake of brevity, as to his return.
Bede: By this denial of Peter we learn, that not only he denied Christ, who says that He is not the Christ, but he also, who although he is a Christian, denies himself to be such. For the Lord did not say to Peter, Thou shalt deny thyself to be my disciple, but, "Thou shalt deny me;" he therefore denied Christ, when he said that he was not His disciple.
There follows: "And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them, for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto."
Not that the Galilaeans spoke a different tongue from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for they were both Hebrews, but that each province and region has its own peculiarities, and cannot avoid a vernacular pronunciation.
Theophylact: Therefore Peter was seized with fear, and forgetting the word of the Lord, which said, "Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father," (Mt 30,32) he denied our Lord.
Wherefore there follows: "But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak."
Bede: How hurtful it is to speak with the wicked. He denies before infidels that he knows the Man, whom amongst the disciples, he had confessed to be God. But the Scripture is wont to point out a Sacrament of the causes of things, by the state of the time; thus Peter, who denied at midnight, repented at cock crew.
Wherefore it is added: "And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word which Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crew twice, thou shalt deny me thrice."
Theophylact: For tears brought Peter by penitence to Christ. Confounded then be the Novatians, who say that he who sins after receiving baptism is not received to the remission of his sin. For behold Peter, who had also received the Body and Blood of the Lord, is received by penitence; for the failings of saints are written, that if we fall by want of caution, we also may be able to run back through their example, and hope to be relieved by penitence.
Pseudo-Jerome: But in a mystical sense, the first maid means the wavering, the second, the assent, the third man is the act. This (p. 308) is the threefold denial which the remembrance of the word of the Lord washes away through tears. The cock then crows for us when some preacher stirs up our hearts by repentance to compunction. We then begin to weep, when we are set on fire within by the spark of knowledge, and we go forth, when we cast out what we were within.
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