Golden Chain 5531
5531 (Mt 25,31-45)
(p. 861) Raban.: After the parables concerning the end of the world the Lord proceeds to describe the manner of the judgment to come.
Chrys., Hom. lxxix: To this most sweet section of Scripture which we cease not continually to ponder, let us now listen with all attention and compunction of spirit, for Christ does indeed clothe this discourse with more terrors and vividness. He does not accordingly say of this as of the others, "The kingdom of heaven is like," but shews of Himself by direct revelation, saying, "When the Son of man shall come in his majesty."
Jerome: He who was within two days to celebrate the passover, to be delivered to the cross, and mocked by men, fitly now holds out the glory of His triumph, that He may overbalance the offences that were to follow by the promise of reward. And it is to be noted, that He who shall be seen in majesty is the Son of Man.
Aug., in Joan Tr., 21: The wicked and they also who shall be (p. 862) set on His right hand shall see Him in human shape, for He shall appear in the judgment in that form which He took on Him from us; but it shall be afterwards that He shall be seen in the form of God, for which all the believers long.
Remig.: These words overthrow the error of those who said that the Lord should not continue in the same form of a servant. By "his majesty," He means His divinity, in which He is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Origen: Or, He shall come again with glory, that His body may be such as when He was transfigured on the mount. "His throne" is either certain of the more perfect of the Saints, of whom it is written, "For there are set thrones in judgment;" (Ps 122,5) or certain Angelic Powers of whom it is said, "Thrones or dominions." (Col 1,16)
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch. 24: He shall come down with the Angels whom He shall call from heavenly places to hold judgment.
Chrys.: "For all his Angels shall be with him" to bear witness to the things wherein they have administered to men's salvation at His bidding.
Aug., Serm. 351, 8: Or, by Angels here He means men who shall judge with Christ; for Angels are messengers, and such we rightly understand all who have brought tidings of heavenly salvation to men.
Remig.: "And all nations shall be gathered before Him." These words prove that the resurrection of men shall be real.
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch 24: This gathering shall be executed by the ministry of Angels, as it is said in the Psalm, "Gather to him his saints." (Ps 50,5)
Origen: Or, we need not understand this of a local gathering together, but that the nations shall be no more dispersed in divers and false dogmas concerning Him. For Christ's divinity shall be manifested so that not even sinners shall any longer be ignorant of Him. He shall not then shew Himself as Son of God in one place and not in another; as He sought to express to us by the comparison of the lightning. So as long as the wicked know neither themselves nor Christ, or the righteous "see through a glass darkly," (1Co 13,12) so long the good are not severed from the evil, but when by the manifestation of the Son of God all shall come to the knowledge of Him, then shall the Saviour sever the good from the evil; for then shall sinners see their sins, and the righteous shall see clearly to what end the seeds of righteousness in them have led.
They that are saved are called sheep by reason of that mildness which they have learnt of Him who said, "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly," (Mt 11,29) and (p. 863) because they are ready to go even to death in imitation of Christ, who "was led as a sheep to the slaughter." (Is 53,7)
The wicked are called goats, because they climb rough and rugged rocks, and walk in dangerous places.
Chrys.: Or, He calls the one sheep and the other goats, to denote the unprofitableness of the one, and the fruitfulness of the other, for sheep are greatly productive in fleece, milk, and lambs.
Gloss., non occ.: Under the figure of a sheep in Scripture is signified simplicity and innocence. Beautifully then in this place are the elect denoted by sheep.
Jerome: Also the goat is a salacious animal, and was the offering for sins in the Law; and He says not 'she goats' which can produce young, and "come up shorn from the washing. (Song of Solomon 4:2)
Chrys.: Then He separates them in place.
Origen: For the Saints who have wrought right works, shall receive in recompense of their right works the King's right hand, at which is rest and glory; but the wicked for their evil and sinister deeds have fallen to the left hand, that is, into the misery of torments. Then shall the King say to those who are on "his right hand, Come," that in whatsoever they are behind they may make it up when they are more perfectly united to Christ. He adds, "ye blessed of my Father," to shew how eminently blessed they were, being of old "blessed of the Lord, which made heaven and earth." (Ps 115,15)
Raban.: Or, they are called "blessed," to whom an eternal blessing is due for their good deserts. He calls it the kingdom of His Father, ascribing the dominion of the kingdom to Him by whom Himself the King was begotten. For by His royal power, with which He shall be exalted alone in that day, He shall pronounce the sentence of judgment, "Then shall the King say."
Chrys.: Observe that He says not 'Receive,' but "possess," or "inherit," as due to you from of old.
Jerome: This "prepared for you from the foundation of the world," is to be understood as of the foreknowledge of God, with whom things to come are as already done.
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch. 9: Besides that kingdom of which He will say in the end, "Inherit the kingdom prepared for you," though in a very inferior manner, the present Church is also called His kingdom, in the which we are yet in conflict with the enemy until we come to that kingdom of peace, where we shall reign without an enemy.
Aug., Serm. 351, 8: But one will say, I desire not to reign, it is enough for me that I be saved. Wherein they are deceived, (p. 864) first, because there is no salvation for those whose iniquity abounds; and, secondly, because if there be any difference between those that reign, and those that do not reign, yet must all be within the same kingdom, lest they be esteemed for foes or aliens, and perish while the others reign. Thus all the Romans inherit the kingdom of Rome, though all do not reign in it.
Chrys.: For what the Saints obtain the boon of this heavenly kingdom He shews when He adds, "I was an hungred, and ye gave me to eat."
Remig.: And it is to be noted, that the Lord here enumerates six works of mercy which whoso shall study to accomplish shall be entitled to the kingdom prepared for the chosen from the foundation of the world.
Raban.: Mystically, He who with the bread of the word and the drink of wisdom refreshes the soul hungering and thirsting after righteousness, or admits into the home of our mother the Church him who is wandering in heresy or sin, or who strengthens the weak in faith, such an one discharges the obligations of true love.
Greg., Mor. xxvi, 27: These, to whom as they stand on His right hand the Judge at His coming shall say, "I was an hungred &c." are they who are judged on the side of the elect, and who reign; who wash away the stains of their life with tears; who redeem former sins by good deeds following; who, whatever unlawful thing they have at any time done, have covered it from the Judge's eyes by a cloak of alms. Others indeed there are who are not judged, yet reign, who have gone even beyond the precepts of the Law in the perfection of their virtue.
Origen: It is from humility that they declare themselves unworthy of any praise for their good deeds, not that they are forgetful of what they have done. But He shews them His close sympathy with His own.
Raban.: "Lord, when saw we thee &c." This they say not because they distrust the Lord's words, but they are in amaze at so great exaltation, and at the greatness of their own glory; or because the good which they have done will seem to them to be so small according to that of the Apostle, "For the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us." (Rm 8,18)
Jerome: It were indeed free to us to understand that it is Christ in every poor man whom we feed when he is hungry, or give drink to when he is thirsty, and so of other things; (p. 865) but when He says, "In that ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren," He seems to me not to speak of the poor generally, but of the poor in spirit, those to whom He pointed and said, "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother." (Mt 12,50)
Chrys.: But if they are His brethren, why does He call them "the least?" Because they are lowly, poor, and outcast. By these He means not only the monks who have retired to the mountains, but every believer though he should be secular, though an hungred, or the like, yet He would have him obtain merciful succours, for baptism and communication of the Divine mysteries makes him a brother.
Origen: As He had said to the righteous, "Come ye," so He says to the wicked, "Depart ye," for they who keep God's commandment are near to the Word, and are called that they may be made more near; but they are far from it, though they may seem to stand hard by, who do not His commands; therefore it is said to them, "Depart ye," that those who seemed to be living before Him, might be no more seen.
It should be remarked, that though He had said to the Saints, "Ye blessed of my Father," He says not now, "Ye cursed of my Father," because of all blessing the Father is the author, but each man is the origin of his own curse when he does the things that deserve the curse. They who depart from Jesus fall into eternal fire, which is of a very different kind from that fire which we use. For no fire which we have is eternal, nor even of any long continuance.
And note, that He does not say, 'the kingdom prepared for the Angels,' as He does say "everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels;" because He did not, as far as in Him lay, create men to perdition, but sinners yoke themselves to the Devil, so that as they that are saved are made equal to the holy Angels, they that perish are made equal with the Devil's Angels.
Aug., City of God, xxi, 10: It is hence clear, that the same fire will be appropriated to the punishment of men and of daemons. If then it inflicts pain by corporeal touch, so as to produce bodily torment, how will there be in it any punishment for the evil spirits, unless the daemons have, as some have thought, bodies composed of gross and fluid air. But if any man asserts that the daemons have no bodies, we would not pugnaciously contend the point. For why may we not say, that truly, though wonderfully, even incorporeal spirit (p. 866) can feel pain of corporeal fire? If the spirits of men, though themselves incorporeal, can be now inclosed in bodily limbs, they can then be inseparably attached to the bonds of body. The daemons then will be united to a body of material fire, though themselves immaterial, drawing punishment from their body, not giving life to it. And that fire being material will torture such bodies as ours with their spirits; but the daemons are spirits without bodies.
Origen: Or it may be that fire is of such nature that it can burn invisible substances, being itself invisible, as the Apostle speaks, "The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2Co 4,18) Wonder not when you hear that there is afire which though unseen has power to torture, when you see that there is an internal fever which comes upon men, and pains them grievously.
It follows, "I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat." It is written to the believers, "Ye are the body of Christ." (1Co 12,27) As then the soul dwelling in the body, though it hungers not in respect of its spiritual substance, yet hungers for the food of the body, because it is yoked to the body; so the Saviour suffers whatever His body the Church suffers, though He Himself be impassible.
And observe how in speaking to the righteous He reckons up their good deeds under their several kinds, but to the unrighteous He cuts short the description under the one head, "I was sick and in prison, and ye visited me not," because it was the part of a merciful Judge to enlarge and dwell upon men's good deeds, but to pass lightly and cursorily over their evil deeds.
Chrys.: Observe how they had failed in mercifulness, not in one or two respects only, but in all; not only did they not feed Him when He was hungry, but they did not even visit Him when He was sick, which was easier. And look how light things He enjoins; He said not, "I was in prison," and ye did not set me free, but, and "ye visited me not." Also His hunger required no costly dainties, but necessary food.
Each of these counts then is enough for their punishment. First, the slightness of His prayer, viz. for bread; secondly, the destitution of Him who sought it, for He was poor; thirdly, the natural feelings of compassion, for He was a man; fourthly, the expectation of His promise, for He promised a kingdom; fifthly, the greatness of Him who received, for it is God who receives in the (p. 867) poor man; sixthly, the preeminent honour, in that He condescended to take of men; and, seventhly, the righteousness of so bestowing it, for what He takes from us is our own. But avarice blinds men to all these considerations.
Greg.: They to whom this is said are the wicked believers, who are judged and perish; others, being unbelievers, are not judged and perish; for there is no examination of the condition of such as appear before the face of an impartial Judge already condemned by their unbelief; but those who hold the profession of the faith, but have not the works of their profession, are convicted that they may be condemned. These at least bear the words of their Judge, because they have at least kept the words of His faith. The others hear no words of their Judge pronouncing sentence of condemnation, because they have not paid Him honour even in word. For a prince who governs an earthly kingdom punishes after a different manner the rebellion of a subject and the hostile attempts of an enemy; in the former case, he recurs to his prerogative; against an enemy he takes arms, and does not ask what penalty the law attaches to his crime.
Chrys.: Thus convicted by the words of the Judge, they make answer submissively, "Lord, when saw we thee &c."
Origen: Mark how the righteous dwell upon each word, while the unrighteous answer summarily, and not going through the particular instances; for so it becomes the righteous out of humility to disclaim each individual generous action, when imputed to them publicly; whereas bad men excuse their sins, and endeavour to prove them few and venial.
And Christ's answer conveys this. And to the righteous He says, "In that ye did it to my brethren," to shew the greatness of their good deeds; to the sinners He says only, "to one of the least of these," not aggravating their sin. For they are truly His brethren who are perfect; and a deed of mercy shewn to the more holy is more acceptable to God than one shewn to the less holy; and the sin of overlooking the less holy is less than of overlooking the more holy.
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch. 1: He is now treating of the last judgment, when Christ shall come from heaven to judge the quick and dead. This day of the Divine judgment we call the Last Day, that is, the end of time; for we cannot tell through how many days that judgment will be prolonged; but day, as is the use of (p. 868) holy Scripture, is put for time. And we therefore call it the last or latest judgment, because He both now judges and has judged from the beginning of the human race, when He thrust forth the first man from the tree of life, and spared not the Angels that sinned. But in that final judgment both men and Angels shall be judged together, when the Divine power shall bring each man's good and evil deeds in review before his memory, and one intuitive glance shall present them to the perception, so that at once we shall be condemned or acquitted in our consciences.
5546 (Mt 25,46)
Aug., de Fid. et Op. 15: Some deceive themselves, saying, that the fire indeed is called everlasting, but not the punishment. This the Lord foreseeing, sums up His sentence in these words.
Origen: Observe that whereas He put first the invitation, "Come, ye blessed," and after that, "Depart, ye cursed," because it is the property of a merciful God to record the good deeds of the good, before the bad deeds of the bad; He now reverses the order, describing first the punishment of the wicked, and then the life of the good, that the terrors of the one may deter us from evil, and the honour of the other incite us to good.
Greg., Mor. xv, 19: If he who has not given to others is visited with so heavy a punishment, what shall he get who is convicted of having robbed others of their own.
Aug., City of God, book xix, ch. 11: Eternal life is our chief good, and the end of the city of God, of which the Apostle speaks, "And the end everlasting life." (Rm 6,22) But because eternal life might be understood by those who are not well versed in Holy Scripture, to mean also the life of the wicked, because of the immortality of their souls, or because of the endless torments of the wicked; therefore we must call the end of this City in which the chief good shall be attained, either peace in life eternal, or life eternal in peace, that it may be intelligible to all.
Aug., de Trin. i, 8: That which the Lord spoke to His servant Moses, "I am that I am," (Ex 3,14) this we shall contemplate when we shall live in eternity. For thus the Lord speaks, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true (p. 869) God. (Jn 17,3) This contemplation is promised to us as the end of all action, and the eternal perfection of our joys, of which John speaks, "We shall see him as he is." (1Jn 3,2)
Jerome: Let the thoughtful reader observe that punishments are eternal, and that that continuing life has thenceforward no fear of fall.
Greg., Mor xxxiv, 19: They say that He held out empty terrors to deter them from sin. We answer, if He threatened falsely to check unrighteousness, then He promised falsely to promote good conduct. Thus while they go out of the way to prove God merciful, they are not afraid to charge Him with fraud. But, they urge, finite sin ought not to be visited with infinite punishment; we answer, that this argument would be just, if the righteous Judge considered men's actions, and not their hearts. Therefore it belongs to the righteousness of an impartial Judge, that those whose heart would never be without sin in this life, should never be without punishment.
Aug., City of God, book xxi, ch. 11: And the justice of no law is concerned to provide that the duration of each man's punishment should be the same with the sin which drew that punishment upon him. There never was any man, who held that the torment of him, who committed a murder or adultery, should be compressed within the same space of time as the commission of the act. And when for any enormous crime a man is punished with death, does the law estimate his punishment by the delay that takes place in putting him to death, and not rather by this, that they remove him for ever from the society of the living? And fines, disgrace, exile, slavery, when they, are inflicted without any hopes of mercy, do they not seem like eternal punishments in proportion to the length of this life? They are only therefore not eternal, because the life which suffers them is not itself eternal.
But they say, How then is that true which Christ says, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again," (Mt 7,2) if temporal sin is punished with eternal pain? They do not observe that this is said with a view, not to the equality of the period of time, but of the retribution of evil, i.e. that he that has done evil should suffer evil. Man was made worthy of everlasting evil, because he destroyed in himself that good which might have eternal.
Greg.: But they Say, no just man takes pleasure in cruelties, and the guilty servant (p. 870) was scourged to correct his fault. But when the wicked are given over to hell fire, to what purpose shall they burn there for ever? We reply, that Almighty God, seeing He is good, does not delight in the torments of the wretched; but forasmuch as He is righteous, He ceases not from taking vengeance on the wicked; yet do the wicked burn not without some purpose, namely, that the righteous may acknowledge how they are debtors for eternity to Divine grace, when they see the wicked suffering for eternity misery, which themselves have escaped only by the assistance of that Divine grace.
Aug., City of God, book xxi, ch. 3: But, they assert, nobody can be at once capable of suffering pain, and incapable of death. It must be that one live in pain, but it need not be that pain kill him; for not even these mortal bodies die from every pain; but the reason that some pain causes their death is, that the connection between the soul and our present body is such that it gives way to extreme pain. But then the soul shall be united to such a body, and in such a way, that no pain shall be able to overcome the connection. There will not then be no death, but an everlasting death, the soul being unable to live, as being without God, and equally unable to rid itself of the pains of body by dying. Among these impugners of the eternity of punishment, Origen is the most merciful, who believed that the Devil himself and his Angels, after sufferings proportioned to their deserts, and a long endurance, should be delivered from those torments, and associated with the holy Angels.
But for these and other things he was not undeservedly rebuked by the Church, because even his seeming mercy was thrown away, making for the saints real pains in which their sins were to be expiated, and fictitious blessedness, if the joys of the good were not to be secure and endless.
In quite another way does the mercy of others err through their humane sympathies, who think that the sufferings of those men who are condemned by this sentence will be temporal, but that the happiness of those who are set free sooner or later will be eternal. Why does their charity extend to the whole race of man, but dries up when they come to the angelic race?
Greg.: But they say, How can they be called Saints, if they shall not pray for their enemies whom they see then burning? They do indeed (p. 871) pray for their enemies so long as there is any possibility of converting their hearts to a profitable penitence, but how shall they pray for them when any change from their wickedness is no longer possible?
Aug., City of God, book xxi, ch. 19, 20, &c.: So some there are who hold out liberation from punishment not to all men, but to those only who have been washed in Christ's Baptism, and have been partakers of His Body, let them have lived as they will; because of that which the Lord speaks, "If any man eat of this bread, he shall not die eternally." (Jn 6,51) Again, others promise this not to all who have Christ's sacrament, but to Catholics only, however ill their lives, who have eaten Christ's Body, not in sacrament only, but in verity, (inasmuch as they are set in the Church, which is His Body,) even though they should afterwards have fallen into heresy or idolatry of the Gentiles.
And others again, because of what is written above, "He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved," (Mt 24,13) promise this only to those who persevere in the Catholic Church, that by the worthiness of their foundation, that is, of their faith, they shall be saved by fire. All these the Apostle opposes when he says, "The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, uncleanness, fornication, and the like; of which I tell you before, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Whoever in his heart prefers temporal things to Christ, Christ is not his foundation, though he seem to have the faith of Christ. How much more then is he, who has committed things unlawful, convicted of not preferring Christ, but preferring other things to Him? I have also met with some who thought that only those would burn in eternal torments who neglected to give alms proportioned to their sins; and for this reason they think that the Judge Himself here mentions nothing else that He shall make enquiry of, but of the giving or not giving alms. But whoso gives alms worthily for his sins, first begins with himself; for it were unmeet that he should not do that to himself which be does to others when be has heard the words of God, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," (Mt 22,39) and hears likewise, "Be merciful to thy soul in pleasing God?" (Si 30,24)
He then who does not to his own soul this alms of pleasing God, how can he be said to give alms meet for his sins? Why we are to give alms then (p. 872) is only that when we pray for mercy for sins past, we may be heard; not that we may purchase thereby license for continuing in sin.
And the Lord forewarns us that He will put alms done on the right hand, and on the left alms not done, to shew us how mighty are alms to do away former sins, not to give impunity to a continuance in sin.
Origen: Or, It is not one kind of righteousness only that is rewarded, as many think. In whatsoever matters any one does Christ's commands, be gives Christ meat and drink, Who feeds ever upon the truth and righteousness of His faithful people. So do we weave raiment for Christ when cold, when taking wisdom's web, we inculcate upon others, and put upon them bowels of mercy. Also when we make ready with divers virtues our heart for receiving Him, or those who are His, we take Him in a stranger into the home of our bosom. Also when we visit a brother sick either in faith or in good works, with doctrine, reproof, or comfort, we visit Christ Himself. Moreover, all that is here, is the prison of Christ, and of them that are His, who live in this world, as though chained in the prison of natural necessity. When we do a good work to these, we visit them in prison, and Christ in them.
5601 (Mt 26,1-2)
(p. 873) Hilary: After the discourse in which the Lord had declared that He should return in splendour, He announces to them His approaching Passion, that they might learn the close connection between the sacrament of the Cross, and the glory of eternity.
Raban.: "All these sayings," i.e. about the consummation of the world, and the day of judgment. Or, "finished," because He had fulfilled in doing and preaching all things from the beginning of the Gospel to His Passion.
Origen: Yet it is not "all" barely, but "all these;" for there were other sayings which He must speak before He should be delivered up.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: We gather from John's account, that six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, and thence entered Jerusalem sitting upon the ass, after which were done the things related to have been done at Jerusalem. We understand therefore that four days elapsed from His coming to Bethany, to make this two days before the Passover. The difference between the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread is this; the name Passover is given to that one day on which the lamb was slain in the evening, that is, the fourteenth moon of the first month; and on the fifteenth moon, the day that the people came out of Egypt, followed the festival of unleavened bread. But the Evangelists seem to use the terms indifferently. (marg. note: see Ac 12,3)
Jerome: The Passover, called in Hebrew (p. 874) Phase, does not come as most think from 'to suffer,' but from the Hebrew word signifying 'to pass over;' because the destroyer passed over when he saw the blood on the doors of the Israelites, and smote them not; or the Lord Himself walked on high, succouring His people.
Remig.: Or, because by the help of the Lord the Israelitish people, freed from Egyptian bondage, passed forth into liberty.
Origen: He said not, "After two days" will be, or will come, "the feast of the Passover," but not meaning the ordinary annual Passover, but that Passover such as had never before been, "the Passover will be offered." (marg. note: )
Remig.: Mystically, that is called the Passover, because on that day Christ passed out of the world to His Father, from corruption to incorruption, from life to death, or because He redeemed the world by causing it savingly to pass from the slavery of the Devil.
Jerome: After the two days of the shining light of the Old and of the New Testament, the true Passover is slain for the world. Also our Passover is celebrated when we leave the things of earth, and hasten to the things of heaven.
Origen: He foretels His crucifixion to His disciples, adding, "And the Son of Man shall be delivered to be crucified;" thus fortifying them against that shock of surprise, which the sight of their Master, led forth to crucifixion, would otherwise have occasioned them. And He expresses it impersonally "shall be delivered," because God delivered Him up in mercy to the human race, Judas from covetousness, the Priest for envy, the Devil through fear that through His teaching the human race would be plucked out of His hand, little aware how much more that would be effected by His death, than either by His teaching or miracles.
5603 (Mt 26,3-5)
Gloss., non occ.: Then the Evangelist lays before us the hidden (p. 875) springs and machinery by which the Lord's Passion was brought to pass.
Remig.: This, "then," is to be referred to the preceding words, and means before the Feast of the Passover.
Origen: Not true Priests and elders, but Priests and elders of what seemed the people of God, but was indeed the people of Gomorrah; these, not knowing God's High Priest, laid a plot against Him, not recognizing "the firstborn of the whole creation, (Col 1,15) yea, even against Him that was elder than them all, did they take counsel.
Chrys.: With such ill designs they came to the chief Priest, seeking a sanction whence a prohibition should have issued. There were at that time several Chief Priests, while the Law allowed but of one, whence it was manifest that the dissolution of the Jewish state was having its beginning. For Moses had commanded that there should be one Chief Priest, whose office should be filled up at death; but in process of time it grew to be annual. All those then who had been Chief Priests (marg. note: ) are here called "Chief Priests."
Remig.: They are condemned both because they were gathered together, and because they were the Chief Priests; for the more the numbers, and the higher the rank and station of those who band together for any villainy, the greater the enormity of what they do, and the heavier the punishment stored up for them.
To shew the Lord's innocence and openness, the Evangelist adds, "that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him."
Chrys.: For what then did they conspire, to seize Him secretly, or put Him to death? For both; but they feared the people, and therefore waited till the feast was over, for "they said, not on the feast-day." For the Devil would not that Christ should suffer at the Passover, that His Passion might not be notorious. The Chief Priests had no fear in respect of God, namely, that their guilt might be aggravated by the season, but took into account human things only, "Lest there be an uproar among the people."
Origen: By reason of the parties among the populace, those who favoured and those who hated Christ, those who believed and those who believed not.
Leo, Serm. 58, 2: This precaution of the Chief Priests arose not from reverence for the festival, but, from care for the success of their plot; they feared an insurrection at that season, not because of the guilt the populace might thereby incur, but because they might rescue Christ.
Chrys.: But their fury set aside their caution, and finding a (p. 876) betrayer, they put Christ to death in the middle of the feast.
Leo, Serm. 58, 1: We recognise here a providential arrangement whereby the chief men of the Jews, who had often sought occasion of effecting their cruel purposes against Christ, could never yet succeed till the days of the paschal celebration. For it behoved that the things which had long been promised in symbol and mystery should be accomplished in manifest reality, that the typical lamb should be displaced by the true, and one sacrifice embrace the whole catalogue of the varied victims. That shadows should give way to substance, and copies to the presence of the original; victim is commuted for victim, blood is abolished by blood, and the festival of the Law is at once fulfilled and changed.
Golden Chain 5531