Anthony_Sermons - (FIRST CLAUSE)
(A sermon on the threefold measure and its meaning: Good measure.)
9. There follows, secondly:
Good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Lc 6,38)
The measure is three-fold: of faith, of penitence and of glory. The measure of faith is ‘good’ in the reception of the sacraments; it is ‘pressed down’ (that is, full) in the performance of good works; it is ‘shaken together’ in suffering or martyrdom for the name of Christ; and it is ‘running over’ in final perseverance. Of this measure, the Apostle says:
According as God hath divided to every one the measure of faith. (Rm 12,3)
The measure of penitence is ‘good’ in contrition, wherein God’s goodness is recognised; it is ‘pressed down’ in confession, which should be made in full; it is ‘shaken together’ in satisfaction; and ‘running over’ in the remission of all sin and in purity of mind. Of this measure, the book of Wisdom says:
Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight. (Sg 11,21)
All things, meaning the whole salvation of the soul, as to which all that should be done is done, and everything a man does should be related. Thou hast ordered, Lord God, in the measure of penitence; which, to be true, must have number and weight: number in confession, that all the circumstances of sin be numbered to the end; and weight in satisfaction, that the penalty be of equal weight to the fault. This is the ‘sanctuary weight’, not the ‘common weight’.
(A sermon against those who glory in beauty, and who confess once a year and never perform satisfaction: Moreover as Absalom.)
10. There is a concordance to this in the second book of Kings:
But in all Israel there was not a man so comely, and so exceedingly beautiful as Absalom: from the sole of the foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he polled his hair (so fully it grew) he was polled once a year, because his hair was burdensome to him; and he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred sicles, according to the common weight. (2S 14,25-26)
Absalom’s beauty, which began from the soles of his feet and went up to the crown of his head, stands for that beauty which comes from earthly things, in which there is thought to be no blemish as long as its prosperity meets no adversity. The beauty which comes down from above represents the beauty that comes about from the knowledge of heavenly things, to which the Gospel refers when the Lord says: Why do thoughts arise in your hearts? (Lc 24,38). Those thoughts that ‘arise’ in the heart are of earthly things; those that come down are of heavenly things.
There follows: He was polled once a year. The cutting off of superfluous hair is the putting away of sins in confession, which many people do only once a year, even though they need confession every day! Because human nature is frail and liable to sin, and because every day it contracts the dirt of so many sins, and because its memory is so poor that it hardly remembers in the evening what it did in the morning, why does the wretch put it off for a year? Indeed, why put it off till tomorrow, when he does not know what tomorrow will bring? Here today, and gone tomorrow! So live today, then, as if you were to die tomorrow. Nothing is surer than death, nothing less sure than the hour of death. If you drink the poison of sin every day, you should take the antidote of confession every day. The Philosopher4 says, "He who has nothing in his mind except to live, does not live at all."
There follows: He weighed the hair of his head at two hundred sicles, according to the common weight. But he ought to have weighed it at three hundred! The sinner should weigh his sins at three hundred shekels, that is, with a three-fold penalty: perfect contrition, perfect confession and perfect satisfaction. But he weighs it at two hundred, because there are many who, though quite contrite and properly confessed, lack the third shekel of satisfaction. Nor do they weigh their sins by ‘sanctuary weight’, as God and the saints judge their gravity, but by ‘common weight’, vulgar opinion which gives short weight. To show that this is not enough, John the Baptist said:
Ye offspring of vipers (poisonous sons of poisonous stock), who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? (Lc 3,7)
As if to say, you have not learned how to flee properly, since he who despises satisfaction does not escape the wrath. So he adds, Bring forth fruits worthy of penance. He says ‘fruits’, for seed, flower and fruit are three different things. The seed is contrition, the flower is confession, and the fruit is satisfaction. He who lacks this, lacks the perfection of penitence.
(A sermon on the four gifts of the body: Good measure.)
11. The measure of glory is referred to in this Gospel, Good measure, etc. By this, we are given to understand four gifts of the body, namely agility, subtlety, brightness and impassibility. As has been said, glorified bodies will be brighter than the sun, swifter than the wind, finer than a spark and incapable of suffering any injury. So it is said5 that the Lord put on brightness on Mount Thabor (Mt 14,25); agility when he walked on the water (Mt 17,2); subtlety when he passed through the midst of them and went his way (Lc 4,30); and impassibility when he was eaten by the disciples under the appearance of bread (Lc 22,19), yet suffered no harm. Again, The just shall shine (brightness), and shall
run to and fro (agility) like sparks (subtlety) among the reeds (Sg 3,7); and their name liveth for ever (impassibility) (Si 44,14), for they can neither die nor fail.
Alternatively, the ‘good measure’ is joy without grief; ‘pressed down’ means full, with no empty space; ‘shaken together’ means firmness without looseness, as something shaken is made solid; and ‘running over’ means love without pretence. Each will rejoice over the other’s reward, and so love will overflow towards the other. The poor will give this measure; that is, they will be the reason that God gives, for it will be the occasion for his approval.
Into thy bosom: as Job says, This hope is laid up in my bosom (Jb 19,27). The bosom is as it were a receptacle, a haven. It represents the quiet of eternal life, in which the saints, freed from the storms of this world, are received as in a haven of rest. Or, as a little child who is crying returns to his mother’s breast, and she comforts him and dries his tears, so the saints will return from this weeping world to the bosom of glory, where God will wipe away every tear from every face (cf Ap 7 Ap 17 Ap 21 Ap 4).
The same measure, etc. St Augustine6 says, "In his own will the good man measures out good deeds; in return he is meted out blessedness. In his own will, the bad man measures out bad deeds; in return he is meted out sorrow. Therefore in the same measure (even if not for eternal evils), eternal punishments are meted out; and because he wanted to have the enjoyments of sin for ever, he will find an everlasting and severe punishment."
12. The second part of the Epistle is concordant to this second clause:
For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity; not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope. Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. (Rm 8,19-21)
Note that the word ‘creature’ occurs three times in this second part, corresponding to the three aforesaid measures of faith, penitence and glory. In this place, ‘creature’ means the Church of the faithful. It says, then, the expectation of the creature (meaning the whole Church) waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. That is, those who by faith are God’s children in the Church wait for glory. When they are revealed in it, they will contemplate God face to face, whereas now they contemplate him under a veil, through a glass in a dark manner (cf. 1Co 13,12). The creature was made subject to vanity, mutability, because as Solomon says, the just man falls seven times a day (cf. Pr 24,16); not willingly, because there is no sin in his will, to whom was said, Go, and now sin no more (Jn 8,11). He bears this mutability patiently for God’s sake, who subjected him, or willed and permitted him to be subjected, in the hope of eternal life. So there is added: It shall be delivered from the servitude of this corruption and mutability, changed into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. Therein he will receive ‘good measure’ in the fulfilling of the Age of Christ, ‘pressed down’ in fulfilment of soul, ‘shaken together’
in the bestowal of the double robe, and ‘running over1 in the perpetuity of common joy.
We ask you, then, Lord Jesus Christ, that by the measure of faith you will divide to us the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and fill us by the measure of penitence; so that afterwards you may satisfy us with thy countenance in the measure of glory. Grant this, you who are blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
(A sermon against blind prelates of the Church: All ye beasts of the field.)
13. There follows, thirdly:
And he spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind? Do they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master; but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master. (Lc 6,39-40)
Let us see what is meant, allegorically, by the blind, the ditch, the disciple and the master. The ‘blind’ is the wicked prelate or priest, deprived of the light of life and knowledge. So Isaiah says of the blind prelates of the Church:
All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, all ye beasts of the forest.
His watchmen are all blind. They are all ignorant:
dumb dogs not able to bark, seeing vain things, sleeping and loving dreams.
And most impudent dogs, they never had enough: the shepherds themselves knew no understanding.
All have turned aside into their own way, every one after his own gain, from the first even to the last.
Come, let us take wine and be filled with drunkenness: and it shall be as today, so also tomorrow, and much more. (Is 56,9-12)
The beasts of the field are the demons, the beasts of the forest are the movements of the flesh, which devour the Church and the faithful soul. Why is this? Surely because the watchmen of the Church are all blind, deprived of the light of life and knowledge. They are dumb dogs, with the devil’s sop in their mouths, and so unable to bark against the wolf. They see vain things, because they preach for money; seeking contrition from souls while shamefully saying, Peace, peace. And there is no peace (Jr 6,14 Ez 13 Ez 10). They sleep in their sins, they love dreams, those temporal things which delude those who love them. They are most impudent dogs, having a harlot’s forehead, refusing to blush (Jr 3,3). They never have enough, always saying, Bring, bring; and never, It is enough (cf. Pr 30,15). These shepherds who feed themselves (Jud 1,12) have no understanding, of which the Prophet says; I will understand in the unspotted way (Ps 100,2).
They have all turned aside into their own way, not that of Jesus Christ; every one after his own gain. This is their dark and slippery way (Ps 34,6), from first even to last, from the chief pig down to the smallest piglet. They invite themselves, Come, let us take wine, wherein is lust (Ep 5,18), and be filled with drunkenness, which takes away the heart (Os 4,11), and it shall be as today. But believe me, it will not be as tomorrow! So the book of Maccabees says:
The glory of the sinner is dung and worms.
Today he is lifted up, and tomorrow he shall not be found,
because he is returned into his earth, and his thought is come to nothing. (1M 3,62-63) Jacob said, in Genesis:
My justice shall answer for me tomorrow. (Gn 30,33)
Impudent dogs, today drunkenness abounds in you; but tomorrow, in the day of judgement, an eternity of death will answer. So in the Apocalypse it says:
As much as she hath glorified herself and lived in delicacies,
so much torment and sorrow give ye her. (Ap 18,7)
(On the nature of the bear, and its moral significance.)
14. Again, these blind men, bearing witness to their own malice, say in the same Prophet: We have groped for the wall, and like the blind we have groped as if we had no eyes.
We have stumbled at noon-day as in darkness; we are in dark places as dead men.
We shall roar all of us like bears. (Is 59,10-11)
Note these four: the wall, with no eyes, at noon-day, like bears. The wall is temporal abundance, the eyes are life and knowledge, the noon-day is high ecclesiastical dignity, and the bears are gluttony and lust. These men grope for the wall of riches as if it were something soft, although there are piercing thorns. Though they lack the eyes of life and
knowledge, they grab these things and make them the guide of their way, lacking the guidance of reason. At noon-day, the light of ecclesiastical preferment, they stumble as in the dark, because they are blinded by the very things that ought to give them light.
And like bears, greedy and lustful, they roar for the honey of temporal sweetness.
The bear is said to form its young with its mouth; they say that after thirty days pregnancy, they are born without shape. And so it happens, that premature fertility creates shapeless births. They bring forth pieces of flesh, white in colour, with no eyes; and as they quickly grow to maturity, everything turns red except the extremities of the claws. By licking, they gradually shape them and meanwhile nourish them at the breast, so that by carefully holding them close they warm them, and draw out the animal spirit. During this time they eat nothing. Indeed, for the first fourteen days the mothers fall into a sleep, so that they cannot be roused even by injuries. They lie hidden in labour for four months, and then, when they come freely into the daylight, they suffer so much from the brightness of the light that you would think they had been struck blind. The bear’s head is weak, his greatest strength is in his arms and legs. They creep into the hives of bees, because they have a great appetite for honeycomb, and are greedy for nothing more than honey. When they eat the fruit of the mandrake, they die; but they wander about seeking a remedy, so that the fruit will not grow strong to harm them, and eat ants to recover their health.
The ‘bears’ of our time, soft-living prelates, bring to birth dead lumps of flesh, carnal children whose colour is white like tombs full of all filthiness (cf. Mt 23,27). These have no eyes to contemplate God or neighbour, no shape of virtues, no beauty of morals: only blood-red sins, and claws with which to seize the goods of the poor. As the bears lick and fawn upon these lumps of flesh, they shape them little by little, according to that fashion of which it is said; The fashion of this world passeth away (1Co 7,31). Warming them carefully with bad example, they draw out the animal spirit of which the Apostle says: The sensual man perceiveth not the things of God (1Co 2,14). So, like beasts among beasts, like blind with blind, they fall into the ditch. We should note, further, that just as the bear’s head is weak, so the mind of the Church’s prelates is weak, unable to resist the temptations of the devil; but in their arms and legs there is great strength for rapine and lust. They creep into the hives of the bees- the houses of the poor- with a great appetite for the honeycombs of praise and vainglory, salutations in the marketplace, the first places at feasts and the first chairs in the synagogues (Mt 23,6-7), which they deny to their inferiors. When they eat the fruit of the mandrake, they die.
(A sermon for on Nativity of the Lord: Ruben, going out in the time of the wheat harvest.)
15. The mandrake is an aromatic herb, whose fruit has a beautiful scent like that of the Matian apple. The fruits of the mandrake represent the works of the just, at whose fragrant scent the bears roar and die. To them, as the Apostle says, it is the odour of death unto death (2Co 2,16). Of these mandrakes the Bride says in the Canticles: The mandrakes give a smell in our gates (Ct 7,13). In the gates of the Church, the saints give forth the scent of a good life. Of these, Genesis also says:
Ruben, going out in the time of the wheat harvest into the field, found mandrakes. (Gn 30,14)
Ruben (meaning ‘son of vision’) stands for Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, on whom the angels desire to look (1P 1,12). Going forth from the Father’s side, he came to the field of this world at the time of the wheat harvest, the fulness of time in which, by Joseph’s labour, the corn was gathered into the barn of the blessed Virgin, lest all Egypt should perish from hunger. And he found mandrakes, the Apostles and the Apostles’ successors, at whose scent the roaring bears die. They say, as the book of Wisdom says:
They are contrary to our doings, and upbraid us with transgressions of the law, and divulge against us the sins of our way of life.
They are become censurers of our thoughts. They are grievous unto us, even to behold;
for their life is not like other men’s, and their ways are very different.
We are esteemed by them as triflers, and they abstain from our ways as from filthiness.
These things the unhappy men thought, and were deceived. (cf. Sg 2
And so they turn to ants, the trivialities of the world, whose false delights they believe to be medicinal for them. But the ant-eater will come, the ‘ant-lion’, the devil, who will devour both the blind bears and the ants.
There is a concordance to these blind men in the second book of Kings, where it tells how
David offered a reward to whosoever should strike the Jebusites and get up into the gutters of the tops of the houses, and take away the blind and the lame that hated the soul of David. Therefore it is said in the proverb: The blind and the lame shall not come into the temple. (2S 5,8)
Note the three words: strike, get up, and take away. The true David, Jesus Christ, will give the reward of eternal life to whoever will strike the Jebusite who lives on the earth, the appetite of his flesh; who will get up into the gutters of the housetops, the water- channels of the buildings, by imitating the examples of the saints; and remove the lame and the blind. These are the prelates and priests who are lame in both feet- affection and action- and blind in both eyes- life and knowledge. They hate the soul of Jesus Christ when they offer their own souls, for which he laid down his life, for sale to the devil. The blind and the lame should not come into the temple, and yet today the temple itself is
committed to their care. By their blind guardianship many are made blind, and with them fall equally into the ditch of damnation. It is well said, then: If the blind leads the blind, they both fall into a ditch.
(A sermon on his Passion: King David went over.)
16. There follows: A disciple is not above his master. The Gloss says: ‘If the master who is God does not take revenge for the injuries done to him, but wants to soften his persecutors by his forbearance, his human disciples should imitate this rule of perfection.’ And so there is a concordance to this in the second book of Kings, where it says that:
King David went over the brook Cedron: and all the people marched towards the way that looketh to the desert... But David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, going up and weeping, walking barefoot, and with his head covered: and all the people that were with him went up with their heads covered, weeping. (2S 15,23 2S 15,30)
Allegorically, David represents Christ. Cedron means ‘bitter grief’. The brook Cedron which David went over is the bitter Passion which Christ endured. So we read in John,
Jesus went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron. (Jn 18,1)
After him the people went to the olive-grove; because in his Passion Christ went ahead and the people followed, the disciples after their master, to witness his mercy. The king went with head covered, for Christ went up mount Olivet with his divinity covered by his humanity; and barefoot, thereby showing his humanity. The people, too, went with heads covered, but we do not read that their feet were bare. We should not uncover the mind’s secrets with boastful voice; nor should our feet be bare, but shod with the examples of the saints. As Jeremiah says:
Keep thy foot from being bare and thy throat from thirst. (Jr 2,25)
We should not let the foot of our affection be bare of virtue, nor let our throat thirst from avarice. The vinegar and the gall of our Lord’s Passion should slake our thirst. Just as the doctor drinks the medicine first, the master tasted so that the disciple should not fear to taste. It is enough for him to be like his master.
17. The third part of the Epistle is concordant with this third clause:
For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now. (Rm 8,22)
Note the two words, groans and travails. The master ‘groaned’ in working miracles: as Mark says,
Looking up to heaven, he groaned and said to him: Ephphetha, which is, Be thou opened. (Mc 7,34)
He travailed in the agony of the Passion; as Isaiah says:
Shall not I that make others to bring forth children, myself bring forth? (Is 66,9)
So the master’s disciples, his creation, should groan in contrition and travail in confession. It is enough for the disciple if he is like his master.
We ask you, then, master and Lord, good Jesus, to enlighten the blind, to teach your disciples, and show them the way of life; whereby they may be able to reach you, who are the way and the life. Grant this, you who are blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
(A sermon against those who, being themselves unclean, want to cleanse the uncleanness of others: Why do you see the mote.)
18. There follows, fourthly:
And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye; but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye. (Lc 6,41-42)
Note these three: mote, eye and beam. The mote represents a slight fault, the eye is reason or understanding, the beam is a grave fault. The Gloss says: Truly, a sinner cannot criticize a sinner!’
And so there is a concordance in the second book of Kings, where it tells how the Lord forbade David to build the temple (cf. 2S 7,12-13). St Gregory7 says: "He who would correct another must be clean in himself from vice, so as not to think of earthly things, and not give way to base desires. Then he will see more clearly what others should avoid, the more truly he himself keeps away from them by knowledge and life. The eye cannot see clearly in itself the spot of dust that irritates it; and the hand that holds mud cannot brush off dirt." "If you want to reprove someone, first see if you are like him. If you are, groan equally and do not conform him to yourself. Rather, warn him, and tell him to try with you. Even if you are not like him, you used to be and you could be again: so put yourself on his level and confront him with mercy, not with hate. Only rarely, and in the greatest need, should threats be given, and then only in respect of God, and with the beam removed from your own eye." It is well said, then, Why seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye, etc.
(On the eyes, their explanation and significance.)
19. And note that the eyes are covered with the eyelids and eyelashes, to protect them from accidental injury. They have a hidden light, secret and within. Of all the senses, these are nearest to the soul. The eyes contain the whole judgement of the mind. If there is sadness or happiness in the soul, it appears in the eyes. The eyes are enclosed in hollow cavities in the face, the front or fore-head. The eyes are like jewels, covered with translucent membranes through which, as if through glass, the bright mind looks out upon the outside world. In the middle of the eye are what we call the pupils, which hold the power of seeing.
We should know that the eye may happen to be large, small or in between. The middle size represents a good disposition in judgement and understanding and sound doctrine. Sometimes eyes are prominent or deep-set, or in between. If they are deep-set, it indicates acuteness; if they are prominent, it indicates disturbed judgement and an evil disposition; the middle state is to be preferred, for it signifies goodness. Sometimes the eyes are almost shut, and sometimes wide open and hardly moving, and sometimes in between. If they are wide open or staring, it means stupidity or immodesty; if they are almost closed, it indicates mobility, light judgement, not fixed on what they are doing. In between the two, it means a good disposition, and sound judgement in every work.
20. There follows; Hypocrite, first cast out. The doctor who cannot cure himself is not the most suitable to treat another. The hypocrite’s evil eye is wide open to see other people’s faults, but cannot see his own failings. As the Poet8 says:
"Blind man, when you peer at your own faults with ointment on your eyes,
How are you so clear-sighted when you look at your friends’ shortcomings?"
If only the eye, that sees everything else, could see itself!
The fourth part of the Epistle is concordant to this fourth clause:
And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God.(Rm 8,23)
The first-fruits of the Spirit are contrition and sorrow for sins, which are the first things to offer to the Lord. The saints have these, and do not consider even the beam in another’s eye. They judge no-one, they condemn no-one. They groan within themselves in bitterness of soul, waiting for their adoption, the immortality of the body.
May he who died for us make us partakers of his immortality, he who rose from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom is honour and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Let every merciful soul say: Amen. Alleluia.
SOLINUS, Polyhistor, 15
2 PUBLIUS SYRUS, Sententiae, 95
3 GLOSSA ORDINARIA on 2Kg(Sm) 16.10
4 cf. PUBLIUS SYRUS, Sententiae, 429: "They live badly, who think they will live for ever."
5 INNOCENT III, sermon 14, PL 217.381,382
6 AUGUSTINE, Epistola 102, quaestio 4.26-27; PL 33.381
7 GLOSSA ORDINARIA on 2Kg(Sm) 7.3 and on Lk 6.42
8 HORACE, Satyrae, I,3,25-26
The copyright in this translation belongs to the author, Revd Dr S.R.P. Spilsbury
(The Gospel for the fifth Sunday after Pentecost: When the multitude pressed upon Jesus; which is divided into four clauses.)
(First, a sermon for prelates and preachers of the Church, and how they should behave: King Solomon... on the doors of the oracle.)
1. At that time: When the multitude pressed upon Jesus to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth. (Lc 5,1)
It says in the third book of Kings that King Solomon, on the doors of the oracle which were made of olive wood,
carved upon them figures of cherubims, and figures of palm-trees, and carvings very much projecting: and he overlaid them with gold. And he covered both the cherubims and the palm-trees, and the other things with gold. (1R 6,32)
The doors, that bar the way to enemies, represent preachers who should oppose themselves to enemies, like a wall before the oracle of the Lord, the Church Militant. These doors should be of olive wood, characterised by constancy and mercy. The wood of the olive tree is hard, signifying constancy; while its Greek name, elaia, is similar to the word eleos, meaning ‘mercy’. These two qualities should be found in the preachers and prelates of the Church, through whom is opened the door of the kingdom. On them our Solomon, Jesus Christ, who preached peace to those who were near and to those who were far off (cf. Ep 2,17), has carved cherubims, which stand for the fullness of knowledge, palm-trees and ‘carvings’ (the word implies ‘chisel-work’, engraving). The cherubims stand for angelic life and full knowledge, the palm-trees for the triple victory over the enemy, and the carvings for the example of good works.
First, though, we should note that by the Lord’s command Moses made two cherubims of beaten gold, as Exodus tells (Ex 25,18). Solomon made them of olive wood, as the third book of Kings says. Three reasons can be given for this. First, to indicate that as long as the children of Israel were in the desert with Moses, they deserved to be beaten with many a scourge; but in the promised Land, under Solomon, they were peaceful and quiet. He himself says in the third book of Kings:
Now the Lord God hath given me rest round about: and there is no adversary nor evil occurrence. (1R 5,4)
The second reason is this: while the preacher is in the exercise of preaching, he is as it were beaten by various trials, to broaden his charity and lengthen his patience; but when he leaves the crowd in the valley, and returns to the mountain of vision, he contemplates God with a quiet mind and a joyful heart. The third reason is, that the just man is beaten by many flails in the wilderness of this flesh, but in the heavenly Jerusalem he will gaze face to face upon the Immortal, himself immortal like the glorious cherubim. The cherubim stand for angelic life and full knowledge, and the preacher should have both, so that he lives holily and preaches fully; not sparing anyone either from fear or from love, from reverence or from embarrassment. The palm-trees represent victory over the world, the flesh and the devil: the victor carries a palm-branch in his hand. The carvings, very much projecting, are the most clear examples of good works, which should be so carved in the sight of all that they can in no way be interpreted unfairly or cynically.
Note, too, that these three should be overlaid with gold: the cherubim of knowledge with the gold of humility, because knowledge puffeth up (1Co 8,1); the palms of victory with the gold of divine mercy, so as to ascribe victory to the Lord, not to yourself- he says, Have confidence, I have overcome the world (Jn 16,33); the carvings of works with the gold of fraternal charity, so as to seek others’ glory, not one’s own. If these three are carved on the doors of the oracle, then the crowds who see such wonderful and beautiful carvings will press towards the entrance to the oracle, desiring to hear the word of God. Whence today’s Gospel says: When the multitude pressed upon Jesus.
2. There are four things to note in this Gospel. First, Jesus Christ standing by the lake of Genesareth, with the two ships: When the multitude pressed. Second, Christ’s going up into Simon’s ship: And going up into one ship that was Simon’s. Third, the great catch of fish: Simon, answering, said to him: Master, we have laboured all the night. Fourth, the astonishment of Peter and his companions, and how they left all they had: Which when Simon Peter saw, etc.
Note that on this and the following Sunday we shall, by God’s grace, concord several stories from the third book of Kings with this and the following Gospel. In the Introit of today’s Mass we sing: O Lord, hear my voice; and the Epistle is read from St Peter: Be ye all of one mind, which we will divide into four parts and concord with the four clauses of the Gospel. The first part is: Be ye all of one mind. The second is: For he that will love life. The third is: And who is he that can hurt you? The fourth is: But sanctify the Lord Christ.
Anthony_Sermons - (FIRST CLAUSE)