Anthony_Sermons - (SECOND CLAUSE)
1 HORACE, Epistolae, 1,2,47-48
2 The whole passage closely follows the GLOSSA ORDINARIA on Ps 89.17, including the quotation from AUGUSTINE
3 cf. GLOSSA ORDINARIA on Job 12.5
The copyright in this translation belongs to the author, Revd Dr S.R.P. Spilsbury
(The Gospel for the twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost: As Jesus was speaking to the multitude, which is divided into two clauses.)
(First, the theme for a sermon on the creation of angels and souls, and on preaching and faith: Prepare to meet thy God.)
1. At that time: As Jesus was speaking to the multitude, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: Lord, my daughter is even now dead, etc. (Mt 9,18)
The prophet Amos says:
Be prepared to meet thy God, O Israel. For behold, he that formeth the mountains and createth the wind and declareth his word to man, he that maketh the morning mist and walketh upon the high places of the earth: the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name. (Am 4,12-13)
Note these five: the mountains, the wind, his word, the mist, and the high places of the earth.
Allegorically. O Israel, the faithful soul who sees God by faith, be prepared to meet thy God, because his coming is at hand, which we celebrate next Sunday. You may ask, perhaps, "Who is he?" He is the one who forms the mountains, the angelic spirits who are called ‘mountains’ because of the excellence of their glory. Whence it says in Canticles:
Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. (Ct 2,8)
The Son of God, coming to his Incarnation, leaps over the choirs of angels, the greater and the lesser, and his herald comes before.
He createth the wind, souls of which the psalm says: He flew upon the wings of the winds (Ps 17,11). As the Gloss says here, "The incomprehensible nature of Jesus Christ surpasses the powers of the soul, with which souls themselves raise themselves up as
on wings, from earthly fears into the breezes of freedom." Job says: He made a weight for the winds (Jb 28,25). God made a weight of flesh for souls, lest they fly away into pride like the devil.
He declareth his word to man. To create is to make something out of nothing. God creates souls out of nothing, because, as Augustine1 says, "He creates by pouring in, and pours in as he creates." The psalm says: He hath made the hearts of every one of them (Ps 32,15), that is, as the Gloss says, "He created each soul separately, each one from nothing, and not from Adam, as some say who think the soul arises from the soul." Therefore he who created souls, declares his word to them, whereby the soul lives. As the psalm says: Thy word takes fire vehemently (Ps 118,140). The Gloss says: "The divine word burns, to correct the conscience of the sinner, it purifies hearts like a furnace of gold, it kindles the love of God and enlightens those who hear it."
He maketh the morning mist and walketh upon the high places of the earth. The Gloss says: "Mist is a thickening of the air, and it represents the richness of faith which is conceived in the ‘morning’, the time of Baptism. The high places of the earth are virtues, or the saints set on the pinnacle of virtue. Yet the God of virtues transcends them all, and walks in the hearts of his own people."
(The theme for a sermon on the Day of Pentecost: When he hears the sound of one going.)
2. Whence there is a concordance to this in the second book of Kings, where the Lord says to David:
And when thou shalt hear the sound of one going in the tops of the pear trees, then shalt thou join battle. For then will the Lord go out before thy face to strike the army of the Philistines.(2S 5,24)
The word ‘pear’ is connected with the Greek ‘pyr1, ‘fire’, because the fruit of this tree seems to be shaped like a flame, wide at the bottom and narrow at the top, like fire. The ‘pears’ are the saints, aflame with the fire of charity, whose works begin from a fulness of charity and terminate in the littleness of humility. So the Lord says to them: When you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: we are unprofitable servants (Lc 17,10). The ‘top’ of these pear trees is an exalted life, a very pinnacle. The ‘sound’ is the infusion of the grace of Jesus Christ, who ‘goes’ in the sublime life of the saints. When this sound is heard by the just man, the Philistines (the movements of the flesh, or evil spirits) are overcome. He who is able to do all these things that have been said, is well able to free the woman from the issue of blood, and raise from the dead the daughter of the synagogue-ruler. Whence it says in today’s Gospel: As Jesus was speaking to the crowds, etc.
3. There are two things to note in this Gospel, the cure of the woman with the issue of blood, and the raising of the daughter of the synagogue ruler. The first: Behold, a woman, etc. The second: When Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, etc.
There is no proper Introit for today’s Mass. The Epistle read is from the blessed Apostle Paul to the Colossians: We cease not, which we will divide into two parts and concord with the two clauses of the Gospel. The first part: We cease not; the second: Giving thanks to God the Father. In today’s Gospel, Matthew deals with the woman with the haemorrhage, and the raising of the girl. Paul in today’s Epistle prays that we may be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, which restrains the bloody flow of carnal pleasure; and tells us to be delivered from the power of darkness, as the girl was delivered from the darkness of death. That is why this Epistle is read with this Gospel.
(On the four lamps and their meaning: I will search Jerusalem.)
4. Let us say, then: As Jesus was speaking to the multitude. Note that the death of the girl and the issue of blood signify mortal sin, in the consent of the mind and in execution of deed. Let us discuss the first:
Behold a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. (Mt 9,18)
Mark and Luke say: Jairus by name, the ruler of the synagogue (cf. Mc 5,22 Lc 8,41). Jairus means ‘enlightened’ or ‘enlightening’, and he represents any Christian, who should be enlightened, and should give light, by those lamps of which the Lord says by Zephaniah:
And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps and will visit upon the men that are settled in their filth. (So 1,12)
Note that there are four lamps. The first is that of God’s Word, of which is said: Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths (Ps 118,105). Note that it speaks of ‘feet’ first, and then ‘paths’, because when we hear the word of God, we are first made to shine in heart, and then we walk with straight steps. The second lamp is that of good works, of which is said: Let your loins be girt and lamps burning in your hands (Lc 12,35). We hold lamps burning in our hands when we show good works to our neighbours. The third lamp is that of intention, which gives light to the whole collection of good works. Matthew says: The light of thy body (your work) is thy eye (your intention). If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome (Mt 6,22). The fourth is that of the humanity of Jesus Christ, of which Luke says: What woman having ten groats, etc. (Lc 15,8) (See above regarding that Gospel (Pentecost III).
Let the Lord say, "in the time of judgement I will search Jerusalem", that is, each and every Christian. I will search with lamps: does he hear the word of preaching and amend his life? Does he show the light of good example to others? Does he do his works with a
right intention? Does he shape his life by the example of the poverty and humility of Jesus Christ? Then he will visit upon men (those who trust in their own strength) who are settled in their filth, their iniquities.
(On the keeping of the heart: I will stand on guard.)
5. This Jairus is called ruler of the synagogue, because every Christian should be ruler of his body, which is as it were a synagogue. Ecclesiasticus says:
The synagogue of sinners is like tow heaped together:
and the end of them is a flame of fire. (Si 21,10)
The five bodily senses are like a heap of straw, easily enkindled by the fire of concupiscence; and so Jairus must rule them, so as to say with Habbakuk:
I will stand upon my watch and fix my foot upon the tower:
and I will watch, to see what will be said to me
and what I may answer to him that reproveth me. (Ha 2,1)
He ‘stands on his watch’, who guards his heart with the greatest care. He ‘fixes his foot on the tower’, who restrains the senses of the flesh, with an intention of final perseverance; and so he watches to see what will be said to him, and what he may answer, to the one who reproves him.
This is what Job says:
I would set judgement before him, and would fill my mouth with complaints: that I might know the words that he would answer me, and understand what he would say to me. (Jb 23,4-5)
St Gregory’s Gloss2 says, "To set judgement before God is to open the eyes of our consideration in the secrecy of the mind, by contemplation of the faith, to gaze on his examination. To fill the mouth with complaints, is, while undergoing the judge’s examination, to hurl bitter reproaches against oneself. To know the words is, when pursuing one’s faults to punish them, to find what the judge says about them to us, in his examination."
If the ruler of the synagogue does these things, he can draw near with faith, and adore
Jesus with devotion, saying: Lord, my daughter is even now dead, etc. The daughter of the synagogue ruler, lying dead in the house, is any Christian soul who by consent to sin lies dead in the house of conscience. So Amos says:
The virgin of Israel is cast down upon her land: and there is none to raise her up. (Am 5,2)
Note that there is a double state, of justice and of justification. Of justice, when a man who has been given grace does not fall into mortal sin; of justification, when he rises again after falling. It is true that when a man falls, though he rise again, he does not have the same glory, the same glorious state; it is impossible for him not to have lost his prior state, yet he may have a greater glory, if he afterwards has a greater charity. The virgin of Israel is the soul: a virgin by faith, Israel by hope. She is cast down upon her land when with her miserable flesh she consents to concupiscence.
But come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. O blessed Jesus! Wherever your hand is, there is our life! Ezekiel says: The hand of the Lord was with me, strengthening me (Ez 3,14). Note these three: Come, lay thy hand, and, she shall live. O Lord Jesus, come and help by pouring in your grace, so that the daughter, my soul, may be contrite. Lay your hand on her, that she may confess. Jeremiah says: The Lord put forth his hand and touched my mouth (Jr 1,9), for the confession of sin. And so she shall live, with the life of grace in the present, and the life of glory in the future.
(The theme for a sermon for penitents on confession: I lifted my eyes and saw; and behold a man.)
6. There is a concordance to this in the prophet Zechariah, where he says:
I lifted up my eyes ans saw: and, behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand.
And I said: Whither goest thou? And he said to me: To measure Jerusalem
and to see how great is the breadth thereof and how great the length thereof. (Za 2,12)
Let us see the meaning of these six things: the man and his hand, the line, Jerusalem and its length and breadth. The man is Christ, of whom Zechariah says: Behold a man, the Orient is his name (Za 6,12). Jesus Christ is his name, which agrees with ‘a man, the Orient’: Jesus the Saviour. Behold the man, who by his strength has saved his people. Christ, anointed with chrism. Behold the Orient, who has enlightened those sitting in darkness (cf. Lc 1,17). The ‘hand’ of this man is his mercy, of which Mark says: They besought him that he would lay his hand upon him (Mc 7,32). See the Gospel: Jesus going out of the coast of Tyre, came by Sidon (Pentecost XII).
The measuring line is the confession of sins. So Solomon says: A three-fold cord is not easily broken (Qo 4,12). Note that the sinner should do three things in confession: he should lament what is past, have a firm intention of not falling back, and obey his confessor’s instructions in everything. If our boat is tied to the wood of the Lord’s cross with such a cord, it will never be torn away. This rope is in the hand of Christ, who gives the grace of confession to whom he will, by the inspiration of his mercy.
With this line he himself measures Jerusalem, the soul of each penitent, to see (that is, to make him see) what may be the length of his perseverance and what may be the breadth of his two-fold charity. He who sins mortally offends God, injures himself, and scandalises his neighbour. But when he repents and confesses, intending to persevere to the end, then he pleases God, heals himself and edifies his neighbour. This is the length and breadth of Jerusalem, which is measured with the line of confession, that penance may be proportionate to guilt, and as he yielded his members to serve iniquity, unto iniquity; so he should yield them to serve justice, unto sanctification (cf. Rm 6,19).
Come, then, O Orient, and measure Jerusalem with the line you have in your hand. Come, O Lord Jesus, and lay your hand upon the soul, and she shall live by the life of grace in the present, and by the life of glory in the future.
(On the four horns in Zechariah and their meaning: I lifted my eyes and saw; and behold four horns.)
7. There follows: And Jesus rising up followed him, with his disciples (Mt 9,19). O inexpressible kindness! O wonderful humility! The king of angels follows the ruler of the synagogue! You follow Jairus; and who follows you, O Son of God? Jeremiah says:
They walked in their own will and in the perversity of their wicked heart,
and went backward and not forward. (Jr 7,24)
They turned away the shoulder to depart: and they stopped their ears, not to hear.
And they made their heart as the adamant stone, lest they should hear the law. (Za 7,11-12)
And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout, he said: Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. (Mt 9,23-24)
Let us see what is meant, morally, by the minstrels and the multitude making a rout. The minstrels are the bodily senses, which sing a sorrowful song with those four horns of
which there is a concordance in Zechariah:
And I lifted up my eyes, and saw; and, behold, four horns.
And I said to the angel that spoke to me; What are these? And he said to me;
These are the horns that have scattered Juda and Israel and Jerusalem. (Za 1,18-19)
These four horns represent vices, namely pride or lust in the eyes, prurient hearing in the ears, detraction or flattery in the tongue, and robbery or usury in the hands. These are what have tossed to the winds, to every wind of worldly vanity, Juda (the laity) and Israel (the clergy) and Jerusalem (religious). With these horns the bodily senses sing a sad song, the joy of the world at the death of our soul. So Job says:
They take the timbrel and the harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
They spend their days in wealth. And in a moment they go down to hell. (Jb 21,12-13)
A timbrel is made of skin stretched over a wooden frame. The timbrel is taken when the proud man lifts his eyelids on high, as in Proverbs: A generation whose eyes are lofty, and their eyelids lifted up on high (Pr 30,13); or when the lustful man casts his eyes on feminine beauty, as in Proverbs: Let not thy heart covet her beauty; be not caught with her winks (Pr 6,25). The tongue of flattery or detraction is like a harp, which when plucked gives forth the sound of detraction or flattery. He who has prurient ears rejoices in the sound of the organ, his own praise. Woe to us wretched people, who rejoice at the sound of our own organ, which when it sounds causes our eye to smile, our face to grow cheerful, our ear to rejoice, our tongue to dance, our heart to exult. They rejoice at the sound of the organ. Would that, as Job says, our harp might be turned into mourning: and our organ into the voice of those that weep (cf. Jb 30,31). Those who rob or extort the goods of the poor spend their days in wealth. See how the cursed minstrels sing their sorrowful song. Believe me, in a moment, a point that will pierce them to their innermost heart and soul, they will go down to hell, to sing the sorrowful song of weeping eyes and gnashing teeth.
The noisy crowd is the trouble and tumult of evil thoughts. While outside the minstrels sing their sorrowful song, tumultuous thoughts riot within the mind. So the bride says in Canticles: My soul troubled me for the chariots of Aminadab (Ct 6,11). Aminadab means ‘unbridled’ or ‘urbane’, and he represents our body, which of its own accord casts itself into temporal things, and always wants to live in a ‘civilized’ and delicate way. The chariots of Aminadab are the bodily senses, and as they roll through the mud and dung of temporal things, the soul (here meaning the animal or sensual nature) troubles the reason with a tumultuous crowd of evil thoughts.
8. Let us return to our subject, and say: When Jesus was come into the house of the ruler. The ruler is Everyman, who should rule himself, whose house is his conscience.
The Lord enters it when he pours his grace into it, that it may recognise its guilt, and, with this knowledge, be ashamed.
And when he saw the minstrels and the multitude, he said: Give place. When Jesus Christ visits the human conscience with his grace, he commands sensual pleasure and tumultuous thoughts to depart. He commands the winds, the vanity of the senses, and the sea, the tossing of the mind, and they obey him (cf. Lc 8,25). Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. She slept, truly: for he could rouse her from death just as easily as from sleep. Note that the death of the soul is two-fold: that of sin, and that of hell. The death of sin is called a sleep, because any sinner in this life can rise from sin as easily as someone can awake from sleep. So the Apostle says: Rise, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead; and Christ shall enlighten thee (Ep 5,14): rise by contrition, you who sleep in sin, and arise by confession from your dead works.
Note that he addresses her as a little girl, not an old woman. The soul that has not yet spent long in evil habits is laid low, but is like a little child slumbering in sin. She was dead and raised within the house, not carried out of doors and buried, because the soul which is dead in the house of conscience, and not yet carried to the door of action, or the tomb of evil custom, can easily be restored to life.
And they laughed him to scorn. When Jesus Christ breathes grace into the soul, that it may lament its sins and rise from them, the minstrels (the outward pleasure of the senses) and the riotous crowd (the inner tumult of the thoughts) mock. As Job says, (The ostrich) scorneth the horse and his rider (Jb 39,18). This stands for the earth-bound pleasure of the flesh, which mocks the horse of the spirit, and its rider, grace, when it tries to guide it into the way of life, to receive the reward of heavenly glory. It mocks, I say, when the frailty of nature, the rigour of abstinence, and the harshness of penance are set before it, and it shows that it is unable to persevere in them.
There follows: And when the multitude was put forth, he went in and took her by the hand, (saying: Maid, arise (cf. Lc 8,54)), and the maid arose (Mt 9,25). Note the order of the words: when the multitude was put forth, he went in. This is concordant to what the Lord says in Hosea:
I will destroy the bow and the sword and war out of the land: and I will make them sleep secure. (Os 2,18)
The bow is the devil’s deceitful tempting; the sword is the tumultuous thinking of the heart; war is the lustful pleasure of the senses. The Lord destroys these out of the land, when he casts the riotous crowd out of the house of conscience; and when they are cast out he enters, and, entering, brings peace. This is to make them sleep secure, to rest.
He took her by the hand. He takes the hand when he gives, by his mercy, to will, to know and to be able. There is a concordance to this in Zechariah:
The hands of Zorobabel have laid the foundations of this house, and his hand shall finish it. (Za 4,9)
Zorobabel means ‘Master of Babylon’, and he stands for Jesus Christ, who came to renew the world and raise the girl to life. He said: The Son of man is come to save that which was lost (cf. Lc 19,10). By the hand of his mercy he lays the foundations of the temple when he gives us to know and will; he finishes it when he gives us the power to act.
And he said: Maid, arise. And the maiden arose. There is a concordance to this in the prophet Micah, where the soul, risen again by grace, despises the insults of the flesh, and says:
Rejoice not, thou, my enemy, over me, because I am fallen.
I shall arise when I sit in darkness. The Lord is my light. (Mi 7,8)
(For enclosed religious: Behold I will give milk.)
9. The first part of the Epistle is concordant to this first clause:
We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of the will of God. (Col 1,9)
To this prayer and request the Lord replies mercifully in Hosea:
Behold, I will allure her and will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart. (Os 2,14)
The Lord allures the Church, or the faithful soul, for which the Apostle prays and begs, with grace; that he may increase her in salvation, and afterwards lead her into the wilderness of abstinence from temporal things, and quietude of mind, so as to speak to her heart and fill her with the knowledge of his will.
Note that the Apostle says: Be filled. If you overfill a full vessel, you will lose what you put in. Someone full of temporal concerns cannot be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. So he who would be filled must first be led into the wilderness; and there he will hear the whisper of a gentle breeze speaking to his heart, and he will be filled with the knowledge of the divine will. So it says in today’s Gospel that the Lord first casts out the riotous crowd, and afterwards, as it were in the wilderness, speaks to the heart of the girl: Damsel, I say to thee, arise (Mc 5,41). The mouth of the Lord is at the ear of the
heart, in the wilderness of restfulness where he reveals the secret of his will. Let your heart be still, and you will be filled with knowledge of the divine will. He says; To whom shall I have respect, but to him that is humble and quiet and poor in spirit? (cf. Is 66,2) He hath regarded the humility of his handmaid (Lc 1,48), who dwelt in solitude of mind and body. St Jerome3 says, "To me the town is a prison, the wilderness is paradise", where the Lord speaks to the heart.
Let us humbly ask him, dearest brothers, with Jairus the ruler of the synagogue, to come to our house, to cast out the riotous crowd, and raise our daughter. May he graciously grant this to us, who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
(The theme for a sermon against carnal folk, and the seven deadly sins: I will go after my lovers.)
10. There follows, secondly:
And behold, a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, etc. (Mt 9,20)
Let us see what is meant by these three: the woman, the issue of blood, and the hem of his garment. The woman, called ‘the weaker sex’, represents the sinful soul, who says in the prophet Hosea:
I will go alter my lovers that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink. (Os 2,5)
Soft souls go after soft things. Let us see what is meant by these seven: the lovers, and the bread, etc. The lovers of the sinful soul are the demons, or the carnal affections. She goes after them, when she consents to them, and she consents to them because they give her bread, etc. The bread represents the pomp of temporal glory, the water is gluttony and lust, the wool is deceitful hypocrisy, the flax is the love of money, the oil is the gleam of flattery, the drink is desire for dignities.
Of the loaves, or bread, of temporal glory, Solomon says, in Proverbs:
The bread of lying is sweet to a man: worldly pomp, which pretends to be something, whereas it is nothing;
but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel, (Pr 20,17) eternal punishment.
Of the waters of gluttony and lust, the prophet Nahum says: Her waters are like a great
pool (Na 2,8)- referring to Ninive, which means ‘beautiful’. This represents man’s flesh, whose waters (gluttony and lust) are like a pool which dries up in the summer heat. So, in the drought of death, the gluttony and lust of the flesh are altogether dried up.
Of the wool of hypocrisy, see the Gospel: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, etc. (Mt 7,15) See above, in that Gospel (Pentecost VIII).
Of the flax of avarice, Exodus says that the hail damaged the flax (cf. Ex 9,31). The hail of the divine sentence, Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire (cf. Mt 25,41), will damage and destroy avarice and usury.
Of the oil of flattery, the psalm says: Let not the oil of the sinner fatten my head (Ps 140,5).
Of the drink of dignities, the Apocalypse speaks of
the woman who sat upon the scarlet beast having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abomination and filthiness of her fornication. (cf. Ap 17,3-4)
This woman represents the vanity of the world, which is seated upon a scarlet beast, the devil. She has a golden cup in her hand, the bright show of transient honours, full of abomination. The conscience and deeds of those who are blinded by this brightness bear witness to themselves and to us how great therein is the abomination and unclean fornication. Whoever drinks from this cup will thirst again, and burn: and, please God, not for ever with the purple-clad Feaster! Alas, alas! I see them all, with gaping mouth and burning throat, running to drink of the golden cup of fornication. Jeremiah says:
A swift runner pursuing his course;
a wild ass accustomed to the wilderness in the desire of his heart snuffed up the wind of his love.(Jr 2,23-24)
Like the wind, which when drawn in by an open mouth does not slake thirst, but makes it greater, so does the vanity of honours: and sometimes it kills its drinker, from very thirst!
Whoever is infected with these six vices is like the woman who suffered from the issue of blood. The issue of blood consists in the manifest uncleanness of sin; as Hosea says: Blood hath touched blood (Os 4,2), meaning that the uncleanness of the mind extends to uncleanness of deed. As has been said, whose issue is as the issue of horses (cf. Ez 23,20).
She suffered an issue of blood for twelve years. Ten for the precepts of the Old Testament, two for those of the New. The issue of blood is suffered for twelve years by
whoever is defiled by the malice of open sin against the precepts of the two Testaments. So Hosea says:
They have committed fornication and have not ceased: because they have forsaken the Lord in not observing (Os 4,10)
(that is, the precepts of either Testament).
(Against those who in their sickness trust in doctors and riches: Asa fell sick.)
Luke says that this woman had bestowed all her substance on physicians and could not be healed by any (Lc 8,43); Mark adds, but rather was worse (Mc 5,26). The physicians are the carnal affections, of which the psalm says:
Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead?
Or shall physicians raise to life, and give praise to thee? (Ps 87,11)
The carnal affections cannot raise the soul from sin, they kill one that has been raised and bury it in hell. How many soft and feeble folk spend all their resources on these physicians of either man (soul and body), and can find no cure for the sickness of the soul- rather, they grow worse!
11. So it says in the second book of Chronicles that:
Asa fell sick of a most violent pain in his feet. And yet in his illness he did not seek the Lord, but rather trusted in the skill of physicians. And he slept with his fathers, and he died. (2Ch 16,12-13)
Asa means ‘lifting up’; he represents the rich man of this world, who lifts himself up in riches, and walks in wonderful things above himself (cf. Ps 130,1). He falls sick of a most violent pain in the feet. The soul has two feet, which support it, namely fear and hope, of whose strength the rich man of this world is deprived. He puts his hope in transient things, which he fears to lose, and so he trusts more and more in the skill of physicians (the industry, wisdom and experience of his carnal affections) rather than in the Lord. And so he sleeps in sin and dies in hell.
(On the Passion of Christ: She touched the hem.)
We should not trust in physicians, but in the hem of his garment, of which is added: She came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment (Mt 9,20). The garment of Christ is his flesh, of which Isaiah says:
Why is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress?
I have trodden the winepress alone. (Is 63,2-3)
Zechariah says something similar: Jesus was clothed with filthy garments (Za 3,3). Jesus Christ bore the winepress alone, the weight of the cross, whereon he reddened his apparel with blood. The hem of this garment is the Passion itself, which frees the soul from the issue of blood. The remembrance of the Passion is the strongest remedy against the deceitful and lustful flesh. And if the ointment should run down from the head to the beard, indeed to the skirt of the garment (cf. Ps 132,2), that is, to the very last part of Christ’s life, its fulness will run over the whole earth.
Regarding this skirt, it says in Zechariah:
Men of all languages... shall take hold the skirt of one that is a Jew, saying:
We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. (Za 8,23)
This is the very thing the woman said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed (Mt 9,21). This hem, the Passion of Christ, draws more to Christ himself than all the rest of his life. So he says: If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself (Jn 12,32). If then you want to be cured of your issue of blood, O soul, touch with faith, take hold with deed, the hem of the Passion. The Apostle says:
They that are Christ’s have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences.(Ga 5,24)
If you thus touch and take hold, you will be able to hear the words:
Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. (Mt 9,22)
Faith involves utterance and action. If I do what I say, and take hold of what I touch, there is faith, and such faith saves me.
12. The second part of the Epistle is concordant with this second clause:
Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light. (Col 1,12)
O Father, how many thanks the synagogue ruler’s daughter, raised from the dead, and the woman cured of the issue of blood, should offer: that is to say, those who are represented by these two, those whom you have made worthy of a share in eternal life, allotted to the saints. The Lord is the portion of my inheritance (Ps 15,5), it says, and this inheritance is in light, according to the psalm: In thy light we shall see light (Ps 35,10).
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love (Col 1,13). Behold the raising of the synagogue-ruler’s daughter, the soul, which he delivers with the hand of mercy from the power of darkness, in which she lay blind; and translates from the region of unlikeness into the kingdom of his love, which we have received through the Passion of his Son, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins. Behold the healing of the woman from her issue of blood, by the hem of his garment. The blood of the Lord’s Passion restrains the blood of our sins.
Let us then, dearest brothers, devoutly pray the Lord Jesus Christ that he will restrain our blood with the hem of his Passion, whereby we may offer him fitting thanks, and be able to reign with the saints in his light. May he grant this, who is glorious in his miracles, the blessed God for ever and ever. Let every raised and healed soul say: Amen. Alleluia.
Anthony_Sermons - (SECOND CLAUSE)