Golden Chain 5606
5606 (Mt 26,6-13)
Gloss, non. occ.: Having set before us the counsels of the chief of the Jews concerning the death of Christ, the Evangelist would proceed to follow out their execution, and to relate the bargain of Judas with the Jews to deliver Him up, but be first (p. 877) shews the cause of this betrayal. He was grieved that the ointment which the woman poured upon Christ's head had not been sold that he might have carried off something out of the price it brought, and to make up this loss he was willing to betray his Master.
And therefore he proceeds, "Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper."
Jerome: Not that he was a leper yet, but having been so, and having been healed by the Saviour, be retained the appellation to shew forth the power of Him who healed him.
Raban.: "Alabaster" is a kind of marble, white but marked with veins of different colours, which was in use for vessels to hold ointment, because it was said to preserve it from corruption.
Jerome: Another Evangelist instead of 'alabastruin' has 'nardum pisticam,' that is, genuine, unadulterated. (marg. note: Jn 12,3)
Raban.: From the Greek,, faith, whence 'pisticus,' faithful. For this ointment was pure, unadulterated.
Origen: Some one may perhaps think that there are four different women of whom the Evangelists have written, but I rather agree with those who think that they are only three; one of whom Matthew and Mark wrote, one of whom Luke, another of whom John.
Jerome: For let no one think that she who anointed His head and she who anointed His feet were one and the same; for the latter washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and is plainly said to have been a harlot. But of this woman nothing of this kind is recorded, and indeed a harlot could not have at once been made deserving of the Lord's head.
Ambrose, Ambros. in Luc. 7, 37: It is possible therefore that they were different persons, and so all appearance of contradiction between the Evangelists is removed. Or it is possible that it was the same woman at two different times and two different stages of desert; first while yet a sinner, afterwards more advanced.
Chrys., Hom. lxxx: And in this way it may be the same in the three Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And not without good reason does the Evangelist mention Simon's leprosy, to shew what gave this woman confidence to come to Christ. The leprosy was an unclean disease; when then she saw that Jesus had healed the man with whom He now lodged, she trusted that He could also cleanse the uncleanness of her soul; and so whereas other women came to Christ to be healed in their bodies, she came only for the honour and the healing (p. 878) of her soul, having nothing diseased in her body; and for this she is worthy our highest admiration. But she in John is a different woman, the wonderful sister of Lazarus.
Origen: Matthew and Mark relate that this was done in the house of Simon the leper; but John says that Jesus came to a house where Lazarus was; and that not Simon, but Mary and Martha served. Further, according to John, six days before the Passover, He came to Bethany where Mary and Martha made Him a supper. But here it is in the house of Simon the leper, and two days before the Passover.
And in Matthew and Mark, it is the disciples that have indignation with a good intent; in John, Judas alone with intent to steal; in Luke, no one finds fault.
Greg., Hom. in Ev., xxxiii, 1: Or, we may think that this is the same woman whom Luke calls a "sinner," and John names Mary.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 79: Though the action described in Luke is the same as that described here, and the name of him with whom the Lord supped is the same, for Luke also names Simon; yet because it is not contrary to either nature or custom for two men to bear the same name, it is more probable that this was another Simon, not the leper, in whose house in Bethany these things were done.
I would only suppose that the woman who on that occasion came near to Jesus' feet, and this woman, were not two different persons, but that the same Mary did this twice. The first time is that narrated by Luke; for John mentions it in praise of Mary before Christ's coming to Bethany, "It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick." (Jn 11,2) Mary therefore had done this before. That she did afterwards in Bethany is distinct from Luke's account, but is the same event that is recorded by all three, John, Matthew, and Mark. That Matthew and Mark say it was the Lord's head that she anointed, and John His feet, is reconciled by supposing that she anointed both.
Against this one might raise a cavil from what Mark says, that she anointed His head by breaking the box over it, so that there could be none of the ointment left with which to anoint His feet also. Let such caviller understand, that His feet were first anointed before the box was broken, and there remained in it, yet whole, enough wherewith to anoint the head by breaking the box and shedding the contents. (p. 879)
Aug., de Doctr. Christ., iii, 12: But let not any suppose that the Lord's feet were by this woman bathed in ointment after the manner which the luxurious and debauched use. In all things of this nature, it is not the thing itself, but the mind of him who uses it, that is in fault. Whoso uses things after such sort as to pass the bounds observed by good men with whom he lives, either has some meaning (marg. note: aliquid significat) in what he does, or is vicious. What then is vice in others, in a divine or prophetic person is a sign of some great thing.
The good odour is the good report which one has gained by the works of a good life, and in following Christ's footsteps sheds a most precious odour on His feet.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: Still there may seem to be some discrepancy between the narrative of Matthew and Mark, who say, that "after two days is the feast of the Passover," and then bring Jesus to Bethany; and that of John, who, relating this history of the ointment, says "Six days before the Passover."
They who urge this do not understand that the events in Bethany are in Matthew and Mark inserted out of their place, a little later than the time of their occurrence. Neither of them, it is to be observed, introduce their account with 'afterwards.'
Chrys.: The disciples had heard their Master say, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice," (Mt 9,13) wherefore they thought among themselves, If He accepts not burnt-offerings, much less will He the application of such ointment as this.
Jerome: I know that some raise a cavil here, because John says that Judas alone was grieved because he had the bag, and was a thief from the beginning; but Matthew, that all the disciples were sorrowful. These know not the figure syllepsis, by which one name is put for many, and many for one; as Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews says, "They were sawn asunder," (He 11,37) when it is thought that one only, Esaias namely, was so.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 79: We may however understand that the other disciples thought or said the same, or that they assented to what Judas said, and thus Matthew and Mark have described their common consent. But Judas said it because he was a thief, the others out of their care for the poor; and John desired to mention it only in the case of him whose thievish propensity he thought ought to be recorded.
Chrys.: The disciples then thought thus, but Jesus, who saw the thoughts of the woman, suffered it. For her piety was great, and her ardour unspeakable, wherefore He (p. 880) condescended to suffer her to pour the ointment on His head. As the Father admitted the smoke and odour of the slain victim, so also Christ admitted this votive anointing of His head, though the disciples, who saw not her heart, murmured.
Remig.: He clearly shews that the Apostles had uttered something harsh against her, when He says, "Why trouble ye the woman?" And beautifully He adds, "She hath wrought a good work in me;" as much as to say, It is not a waste of ointment, as ye say, but a good work, that is, a service of piety and devotion.
Chrys.: And He says not merely, "She hath wrought a good work," but says first, "Why trouble ye the woman?" to teach us that every good act that is wrought by any, even though it lack somewhat of exact propriety, yet we ought to receive, cherish, and cultivate it, and not to require strict correctness in a beginner. If He had been asked before this was done by the woman, He would not have directed its doing; but when it was done, the rebuke of the disciples had no longer any place, and He Himself to guard the woman from importunate attacks speaks these things for her comfort.
Remig.: "For the poor ye have ever with you." The Lord shews in these words as of set purpose, that they were not to be blamed who ministered of their substance to Him while He dwelt in a mortal body; forasmuch as the poor were ever in the Church, to whom the believers might do good whensoever they would, but He would abide in the body with them but a very short time.
Whence it follows, "But me ye shall not have always."
Jerome: Here a question arises how the Lord should have said elsewhere to His disciples, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world;" (Mt 28,20) but here, "Me ye shall not have always."
I suppose that in this place He speaks of His bodily presence, which shall not be with them after the resurrection in daily intercourse and friendship, as it is now.
Remig.: Or, it is to be explained by supposing this spoken to Judas only; and He said not, Ye have not, but "Ye shall not have," because this was spoken in the person of Judas to all his followers. And He says, "Not always," though they have it at no time, because the wicked seem to have Christ in this present world, while they mix among His members and approach His table, but they shall not always so have Him when He shall say to His elect, "Come, ye blessed of my Father." (Mt 25,34)
It (p. 881) was the custom among this people to embalm the bodies of the dead with divers spices, to the end that they might be kept from corruption as long as possible. And as this woman was desirous of embalming the Lord's dead Body, and would not be able because she would be anticipated by His resurrection, it was therefore arranged by Divine Providence that she should anoint the Lord's living Body. This then is what He says, "In that she hath poured," that is, By anointing My living Body she shews forth My death and burial.
Chrys.: That this mention of His death and burial might not cause her to despond, He comforts her by what follows, "Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever &c."
Raban.: That is, To whatsoever place throughout the whole world the Church shall be propagated, there this also that she hath done shall be told. That also that is added signifies, that as Judas by his reproof of her has earned evil character of treachery, so has she also earned the glory of pious devotedness.
Jerome: Note His knowledge of things to come, how though about to suffer death within two days, He knows that His Gospel will be preached throughout the whole world.
Chrys.: Behold the accomplishment of this saying; to whatsoever part of the world you go, you will find this woman famous, and this has been wrought by the power of Him who spake this word. How many victories of kings and captains have passed into oblivion; how many who built cities and enslaved many nations are now known neither by report nor by name; but the deed of this woman pouring forth ointment in the house of a leper in the presence of twelve men, this resounds throughout the world, and though so much time has elapsed, the memory of that which was done is not effaced.
But why promised He no spiritual gift to this woman, but everlasting remembrance only? Because this He did promise made her confident of receiving the other also; whereas she wrought a good work, it is clear that she shall receive an adequate reward.
Jerome: Mystically; The Lord, about to suffer for the whole world, sojourns in Bethany, in the house of obedience, which once was that of Simon the leper. Simon also is interpreted 'obedient,' or, according to another interpretation, 'the world,' in whose house the Church is healed.
Origen: Oil is throughout Scripture put for the work of mercy, with (p. 882) which the lamp of the word is fed; or for doctrine, the hearing of which sustains the word of faith when once kindled. All with which men anoint is comprehensively called oil; and one kind of oil is unguent, and one kind of unguent is precious. So all righteous acts are called good works; and of good works there is one kind which we do for, or to, men; another which we do for, or to, God. And this likewise that we do for God, in part only advances the good of men, in part, the glory of God.
For example, one does a kindness to a man out of feelings of natural righteousness, not for God's sake, as the Gentiles sometime did; such a work is common oil of no fine savour, yet is it acceptable to God, forasmuch, as Peter says in Clement, the good works that the unbelievers do, profit them in this world, but avail not to gain them eternal life in another. They who do the same for God's sake, profit thereby not in this world only but in the next also, and that they do is ointment of good savour.
Another sort is that done for the good of men, as alms, and the like. He who does this to Christians, anoints the Lord's feet, for they are the Lord's feet; and this penitents are most found to do for remission of their sins. He who devotes himself to chastity, and continues in fastings and prayers, and other things which conduce to God's glory only, this is the ointment which anoints the Lord's head, and with whose odour the whole Church is filled; this is the work meet not for penitents, but for the perfect, or the doctrine which is necessary for men; but the acknowledgment of the faith which belongs to God alone, is the ointment with which the head of Christ is anointed, with which we "are buried together with Christ by baptism into death." (Rm 6,4)
Hilary: In this woman is prefigured the people of the Gentiles, who gave glory to God in Christ's passion; for she anointed His head, but the head of Christ is God, and ointment is the fruit of good works. But the disciples, anxious for the salvation of Israel, say that this ought to have been sold for the use of the poor; designating by a prophetic instinct the Jews, who lacked faith, by the name of the poor. The Lord answers that there is abundant time in which they may shew their care for the poor, but that salvation cannot be extended to the Gentiles (p. 883) but by obedience to His command, if, that is, by the pouring out of this woman's ointment they are buried together with Him, because regeneration can only be given to those who are dead in the profession of baptism. And this her work shall be told wherever this Gospel is preached, because when Israel draws back, the glory of the Gospel is preached by the belief of the Gentiles.
5614 (Mt 26,14-16)
Gloss., non. occ.: Having described the occasion of his treachery, the Evangelist proceeds to recount the manner of it.
Chrys.: "Then," when, that is, he heard that this Gospel should be preached every where; for that made him afraid, as it was indeed a mark of unspeakable power.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 78: The order of the narrative is this. The Lord says, "Ye know that after two days will be the feast of the Passover; . . . then assembled together the Chief Priests and Scribes; . . . then went one of the twelve."
Thus the narrative of what took place at Bethany is inserted by way of digression, respecting an earlier time between that, "Lest there be an uproar," and, "Then one of the twelve."
Origen: "Went," against that one high priest, who was made a Priest for ever, to many high priests, to sell for a price Him who sought to redeem the whole world.
Raban.: "Went," he says, because he was neither compelled, nor invited, but of his own free will formed the wicked design.
Chrys.: "One of the twelve," as much as to say, of that first band who are elected for preeminent merit. (marg. note: )
Gloss, non. occ: He adds his distinctive appellation, "Scarioth," for there was another Judas.
Remig.: So called from the village Scariotha, from which he came.
Leo, Serm., 60, 4: He did not out of any fear forsake Christ, but through lust of money cast Him off; for in comparison of the love of money all our affections are feeble; the soul athirst for gain fears not to die for a very little; there is no (p. 884) trace of righteousness in that heart in which covetousness has once taken up its abode. The traitor Judas, intoxicated with this bane, in his thirst for lucre was so foolishly hardened, as to sell his Lord and Master.
Jerome: The wretched Judas would fain replace, by the sale of his Master, that loss which he supposed he had incurred by the ointment. And he does not demand any fixed sum, lest his treachery should seem a gainful thing, but as though delivering up a worthless slave, he left it to those who bought, to determine how much they would give.
Origen: The same do all who take any material or worldly things to cast out of their thoughts the Saviour and the word of truth which was in them. "And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver," as many pieces as the Saviour had dwelt years in the world.
(ed. note: i.e. Before He began His ministry, as what follows in Origen shews. For though Origen had at one time considered the duration of Our Lord's ministry not to have exceeded one year and a few months, he had changed that opinion before this commentary on S. Matt. was written. In it he more than once mentions three years as the probable period. vid. Comm. in Matt. Ser., sect 40)
Jerome: Joseph was not sold as many, following the LXX (septuagint), think for twenty pieces of gold, but as the Hebrew text has for twenty pieces of silver, (marg. note: Gn 37,28) for it could not be that the servant should be more valuable than his Master.
Aug., Quaest Ev., i, 41: That the Lord was sold for thirty pieces of silver by Judas, denotes the unrighteous Jews, who pursuing things carnal and temporal, which belong to the five bodily senses, refuse to have Christ; and forasmuch as they did this in the sixth age of the world, their receiving five times six as the price of the Lord is thus signified; and because the Lord's words are silver, but they understood even the Law carnally, they had, as it were, stamped on silver the image of that worldly dominion which they held to when they renounced the Lord.
Origen: The "opportunity" which Judas sought is further explained by Luke, "how he might betray him in the absence of the multitude;" (Lc 22,6) when the populace was not with Him, but He was withdrawn with His disciples. And this he did, delivering Him up after supper, when He was withdrawn to the garden of Gethsemane. And from that time forward, such has been the season sought for by those that would betray the word of God in time of persecution, (p. 885) when the multitude of believers is not around the word of truth.
5617 (Mt 26,17-19)
Gloss., non occ.: The Evangelist having gone through the events preliminary to the Passion, namely, the announcement of the counsel of the Chief Priests, and the covenant for His betrayal, prosecutes the history in the order of events, saying, "On the first day of unleavened bread."
Jerome: The first day of unleavened bread is the fourteenth day of the first month, when the lamb is killed, the moon is at full, and leaven is put away.
Remig.: And observe that with the Jews, the Passover is celebrated on the first day, and the following seven are called the days of unleavened bread; but here the first day of unleavened bread means the day of the Passover.
Chrys., Hom. lxxxi: Or, by "the first day," he means the day before the days of unleavened bread. For the Jews always reckoned their day from the evening; and this day of which he speaks was that on the evening of which they were to kill the Passover, namely, the fifth day of the week.
(ed. note: This passage has been altered by the text of S. Chrys. The Catena has, 'Vel hanc primam diem azymorum dicit quia septem dies azymorum erant.")
REMIG. But perhaps some one will say, If that typical lamb bore a type of this the true lamb, how did not Christ suffer on the night on which this was always killed? It is to be noted, that on this night, He committed to His disciples the mysteries of His flesh and blood to be celebrated, and then also being seized and bound by the Jews, He hallowed the commencement of His sacrifice, i.e. His Passion. "The disciples came" (p. 886) unto him;" among these no doubt was the traitor Judas.
Chrys.: Hence it is evident that He had neither house nor lodging. Nor, I conclude, had the disciples any, for they would surely have invited Him thither.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 80: "Go into the city to such a man," Him whom Mark and Luke call "the good-man of the house," or "the I master of the house." And when Matthew says, "to such a man," he is to be understood to say this as from himself for brevity's sake; for every one knows that no man speaks thus, "Go ye to such a man." And Matthew adds these words, "to such a man," not that the Lord used the very expression, but to convey to us that the disciples were not sent to any one in the city, but to some certain person.
Chrys.: Or, we may say that this, "to such a man," shews that He sent them to some person unknown to them, teaching them thereby that He was able to avoid His Passion. For He who prevailed with this man to entertain Him, how could He not have prevailed with those who crucified Him, had He chosen not to suffer? Indeed, I marvel not only that he entertained Him, being a stranger, but that he did it in contempt of the hatred of the multitude.
Hilary: Or, Matthew does not name the man in whose house Christ would celebrate the Passover, because the Christian name was not yet held in honour by the believers.
Raban.: Or, he omits the name, that all who would fain celebrate the true Passover, and receive Christ within the dwelling place of their own minds, should understand that the opportunity is afforded them.
Jerome: In this also the New Scripture observes the practice of the Old, in which we frequently read, 'He said unto him,' and 'In this or that place,' without any name of person or place.
Chrys.: "My time is at hand," this He said, both by so manifold announcements of His Passion, fortifying His disciples against the event, and at the same time shewing that He undertook it voluntarily. "I will keep the Passover at thy house," wherein we see, that to the very last day He was not disobedient to the Law. "With my disciples," He adds, that there might be sufficient preparation made, and that he to whom He sent might not think that He desired to be concealed.
Origen: Some one may argue (marg. note: e.g. The Ebionites), that because Jesus kept the Passover with Jewish observances, we ought to do the same as followers of Christ, not remembering that Jesus was "made under the Law," though not that He (p. 887) should leave "under the Law" (Ga 4,4) those who were under it, but should "lead them out" of it; how much less fitting then is it, that those who before were without the Law, should afterwards enter in? We celebrate spiritually the things which were carnally celebrated in the Law, keeping the Passover "in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth," (1Co 5,8) according to the will of the Lamb, who said, "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall not have life in you." (Jn 6,53)
5620 (Mt 26,20-25)
Jerome: The Lord had above foretold His Passion, He now foretels who is to be the traitor; thus giving him place of repentance, when he should see that his thoughts and the secret designs of his heart were known.
Remig.: "With the twelve," it is said, for Judas was personally among them, though he had ceased to be so in merit.
Jerome: Judas acts in every thing to remove all suspicion of his treachery.
Remig.: And it is beautifully said, "When even was come," because it was in the evening that the Lamb was wont to be slain.
Raban.: For this (p. 888) reason also, because in Christ's Passion, wherein the true sun hasted to his setting, eternal refreshment was made ready for all believers.
Chrys.: The Evangelist relates how as they sat at meat, Jesus declares Judas' treachery, that the wickedness of the betrayer may be more apparent from the season and the circumstances.
Leo, Serm. 58, 3: He shews that the conscience of His betrayer was known to Him, not meeting his wickedness with a harsh and open rebuke, that penitence might find a readier way to one who had not been disgraced by public dismissal.
Origen: Or, He spoke generally, to prove the nature of each of their hearts, and to evince the wickedness of Judas, who would not believe in One who knew his heart. I suppose that at first he supposed that the thing was hid from Him, deeming Him man, which was of unbelief; but when he saw that his heart was known, he embraced the concealment offered by this general way of speaking, which was shamelessness.
This also shews the goodness of the disciples, that they believed Christ's words more than their own consciences, "for they began each to say, Lord, is it I?" For they knew by what Jesus had taught them that human nature is readily turned to evil, and is in continual struggle with "the rulers of the darkness of this world;" (Ep 6,12) whence they ask as in fear, for by reason of our weakness the future is an object of dread to us.
When the Lord saw the disciples thus alarmed for themselves, He pointed out the traitor by the mark of the prophetic declaration, "He that hath eaten bread with me hath wantonly overthrown me." (Ps 41,9)
Jerome: O wonderful endurance of the Lord, He had said before, "One of you shall betray me." The traitor perseveres in his wickedness; He designates him more particularly, yet not by name. For Judas, while the rest were sorrowful, and withdrew their hands, and bid away the food from their months, with the same hardihood and recklessness which led him to betray Him, reached forth his hand into the dish with his Master, passing off his audacity as a good conscience.
Chrys.: I rather think that Christ did this out of regard for him, and to bring him to a better mind.
Raban.: What Matthew calls 'paropsis,' Mark calls 'catinus.' The 'paropsis' is a square dish for meat, 'catinus,' an earthen vessel for containing fluids; this then might be a square earthen vessel.
Origen: (p. 889) Such is the wont of men of exceeding wickedness, to plot against those of whose bread and salt they have partaken, and especially those who have no enmity against them. But if we take it of the spiritual table, and the spiritual food, we shall see the more abundant and overflowing measure of this man's wickedness, who called to mind neither his Master's love in providing carnal goods, nor His teaching in things spiritual. Such are all in the Church who lay snares for their brethren whom they continually meet at the same table of Christ's Body.
Jerome: Judas, not withheld by either the first or second warning, perseveres in his treachery; the Lord's long-suffering nourishes his audacity. Now then his punishment is foretold, that denunciations of wrath may correct where good feeling has no power.
Remig.: It belongs to human nature to come and go, Divine nature remains ever the same. So because His human nature could suffer and die, therefore of the Son of Man it is well said that "he goeth." He says plainly, "As it is written of him," for all that He suffered had been foretold by the Prophets.
Chrys.: This He said to comfort His disciples, that they might not think that it was through weakness that He suffered; and at the same time for the correction of His betrayer. And notwithstanding His Passion had been foretold, Judas is still guilty; and not his betrayal wrought our salvation, but God's providence, which used the sins of others to our profit.
Origen: He said not, By whom "the Son of Man is betrayed," but "through whom," (Jn 13,2) pointing out another, to wit the Devil, as the author of His betrayal, Judas as the minister. But woe also to all betrayers of Christ! and such is every one who betrays a disciple of Christ.
Remig.: Woe also to all who draw near to Christ's table with an evil and defiled conscience! who though they do not deliver Christ to the Jews to be crucified, deliver Him to their own sinful members to be taken. He adds, to give more emphasis, "Good were it for that man if he had never been born."
Jerome: We are not to infer from this that man has a being before birth; for it cannot be well with any man till he has a being; it simply implies that it is better not to be, than to be in evil.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 40: And if it be contended that there is a life before this life, that will prove that not only not for Judas, but for none other is it good to (p. 890) have been born. Can it mean, that it were better for him not to have been born to the Devil, namely, for sin? Or does it mean that it had been good for him not to have been born to Christ at his calling, that he should now become apostate?
Origen: After all the Apostles had asked, and after Christ had spoken of him, Judas at length enquired of himself, with the crafty design of concealing his treacherous purpose by asking the same question as the rest; for real sorrow brooks not suspense.
Jerome: His question feigns either great respect, or a hypocritical incredulousness. The rest who were not to betray Him, said only "Lord;" the actual traitor addresses Him as "Master," as though it were some excuse that he denied Him as Lord, and betrayed a Master only.
Origen: Or, out of sycophancy he calls Him Master, while be holds Him unworthy of the title.
Chrys.: Though the Lord could have said, Hast thou covenanted to receive silver, and darest to ask Me this? But Jesus, most merciful, said nothing of all this, therein laying down for us rules and landmarks of endurance of evil.
"He saith unto him, Thou hast said."
Remig.: Which may be understood thus; Thou sayest it, and thou sayest what is true; or, Thou hast said this, not I; leaving him room for repentance so long as his villainy was not publicly exposed.
Raban.: This might have been so said by Judas, and answered by the Lord as not to be overheard by the rest.
5626 (Mt 26,26)
Jerome: When the typical Passover was concluded, and He had partaken of the Lamb with His Apostles, He comes to the true paschal sacrament; that, as Melchisedech (marg. note: Gn 14,18), Priest of the most high God, had done in foreshadowing Christ, offering bread and wine, He also should offer the present verity of His Body and Blood.
(ed. note: Many of the passages here quoted appear to have been taken by S. Thomas from the Decretum of Gratian, though the Catena gives no reference to this compilation. Whenever they can be found, the originals are referred to in the margin, and the important differences or additions are noticed in the note. The present passage from S. Jerome (in Joe.) is found in Gratian. de Cons. ii. 88; that which follows from S. Augustine, ibid, 53. The next passage headed 'Gloss.' cannot be found any where.)
Aug., Ep. 54, 7: "And as they were eating," (p. 891) whereby it is clearly seen that at their first partaking of the Lord's Body and Blood, the disciples did not partake fasting. But are we therefore to except against the practice of the whole Church, of receiving fasting? It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost, that for the better honour of so great a Sacrament, the Lord`s Body should enter the Christian's mouth before other food. For to commend more mightily the depth of this mystery, the Saviour chose this as the last thing He would imprint on the hearts and memory of His disciples, from whom He was to depart to His Passion. But He did not direct in what order it should thenceforth be taken, that He might reserve that for the Apostles by whom He would regulate His Church.
Gloss., non occ.: Christ delivered to us His Flesh and Blood under another kind, and ordained them to be thenceforth so received, that faith might have its merit, which is of things that are not seen.
Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., vi, 1 (ed. note: S. Ambrose's name has been retained at the head of the passages out of the Treatise 'De Sacramentis,' because it is placed in the Ben. ed. among the genuine works of S. Ambrose, and not in the Appendix. But there seems to be little doubt of its spuriousness. See Jenkyns' note to Cranmer's 'Defence, &c.' in Cranmer's Works, ii. 326]: And that we might not be shocked by the sight of blood, while it at the same time wrought the price of our redemption.
Aug., in Joan. Tr. 26, 17, cf Serm. 227, 1: The Lord committed His Body and Blood to substances which are formed a homogeneous compound out of many. Bread is made of many grains, wine is produced out of many berries. Herein the Lord Jesus Christ signified us, and hallowed in His Own table the mystery of our peace and unity.
Remig.: Fittingly also did He offer fruit of the earth, to shew thereby that He came to take away the curse wherewith the earth was cursed for the sin of the first man. Also He bade be offered the produce of the earth, and the things for which men chiefly toil, that there might be no difficulty in procuring them, and that men might offer sacrifice to God of the work of their hands.
Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., iv, 3: Hence learn that the Christian mysteries were before the Jewish. Melchisedech offered bread and wine, being in all things like the Son of God, to Whom it is said, "Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech;" (Ps 110,4) and of Whom it is here said, "Jesus took bread." (Jn 12,24) (p. 892)
Gloss., non occ.: (ed. note: This Gloss is partly from the Gloss on Gratian de Cons. d. ii. c. 5. The next passage is headed 'Gregorius in Registro' in the editions, and is so quoted by S. Thomas, III 74,4. but cannot be found in S. Greg.)
This, we must understand to be wheat bread for the Lord compared Himself to a grain of wheat, saying, "Except a corn fall into the ground &c." Such bread also is suitable for the Sacrament, because it is in common use; bread of other kinds being only made when this fails. But forasmuch as Christ up to the very last day, to use the words of Chrysostom as above (marg. note: p. 886), shewed that He did nothing contrary to the Law, and the Law commanded that unleavened bread should be eaten in the evening when the Passover was slain, and that all leavened should be put away, it is manifest that the bread which the Lord took and gave to His disciples was unleavened.
Greg., non occ.: It has given trouble to divers persons, that in the Church some offer unleavened and others leavened bread. The Roman Church offers unleavened, because the Lord took flesh without any pollution (marg. note: commixtione); other (marg. note: Graecaesc) Churches offer leavened bread, because the Word of the Father took flesh upon Him, and is Very God, and Very Man; and so the leaven is mingled with the flour. But whether we receive leavened or unleavened, we are made one body of the Lord our Saviour.
Ambrose, Ambr. de Sacr., iv, 4: This bread before the sacramentary words, is the bread in common use; after consecration it is made of bread Christ's flesh. And what are the words, or whose are the phrases of consecration, save those of the Lord Jesus? For if His word had power to make those things begin to be which were not, how much rather will it not be efficacious to cause them to remain what they are, while they are at the same time changed into somewhat else? For if the heavenly word has been effectual in other matters, is it ineffectual in heavenly sacraments? Therefore of the bread is made the Body of Christ, and the wine is made blood by the consecration of the heavenly word.
(ed. note: ap. Grat. ibid. 54. On this remarkable passage it may be observed, first, S. Ambrose is referring to the creation, and his meaning is, "If his word had power to make these things," i.e. heaven and earth, "begin to be, which were not, how much rather is it not efficacious to make those things," i.e. the bread, not begin, but "continue to be, which were already, and are but changed into something else?" 2. Next he illustrates the change by our own change in regeneration. "Tu ipse eras, sed eras vetus creatura; postea quam consecratus es, nova creatura esse cepisti." 3. There is no introduction of the word "substance," i.e. no assertion of transubstantiation)
Dost thou enquire after the manner? Learn. The course of nature (p. 893) is, that a man is not born but of man and woman, but by God's will Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and a Virgin.
Paschasius: As then real flesh was created by the Holy Spirit without sexual union, so by the same Holy Spirit the substance of bread and wine are consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ. And because this consecration is made by the Lords word, it is added, "He blessed."
(ed. note: This passage is quoted in the Bodl. MS. and early editions of the Cat., as 'Augustinus in Verb. Dom.' Gratian also (de Cons. d. ii. 72.) gives it as Augustine's, but the earliest author in whom it is found is Paschasius Radbertus, Abbot of Corbey, and a well-known writer of the ninth century, 'De Corpore et Sanguine Dom.' 4.)
Remig.: Hereby He shewed also that He together with the Father and the Holy Spirit has filled human nature with the grace of His divine power, and enriched it with the boon of immortality. And to shew that His Body was not subject to passion but of His own will, it is added, "And brake."
Lanfranc: When the host is broken, when the blood is poured from the cup into the mouth of the faithful, what else is denoted but the offering of the Lord's Body on the cross, and the shedding of His Blood out of His side?
(ed. note: This is quoted in the early editions, and in Gratian de Cons. ii. 37. as Augustinus 'in Libro Sent. Prosper.' but does not occur in that collection of Prosper as we have it. It is found in Lanfranc cont. Bereng. 13.)
Dionysius, Eccl. Hier., 3, in fin: In this is also shewn, that the one and uncompounded Word of God came to us compounded and visible by taking human nature upon Him, and drawing to Himself our society, made us partakers of the spiritual goods which He distributed, as it follows, "And gave to his disciples."
Leo, Serm. 58, 3: Not excluding the traitor even from this mystery, that it might be made manifest that Judas was provoked by no wrong, but that he had been foreknown in voluntary impiety.
Aug., in Joan Tr., 59: Peter and Judas received of the same bread, but Peter to life, Judas to death.
Chrys., Hom. lxxxii: And this John shews when be says "After the sop, Satan entered into him." (Jn 13,27) For his sin was aggravated in that he came near to these mysteries with such a heart, and that having come to them, he was made better neither by fear, kindness, nor honour. Christ hindered him not, though He knew all things, that you may learn that He omits nothing which serves for correction.
Remig.: In so doing He left an example to the Church, that it should (p. 894) sever no one from its fellowship, or from the communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, but for some notorious and public crime.
Hilary: Or, The Passover was concluded by the taking the cup and breaking the bread without Judas, for he was unworthy the communion of eternal sacraments. And that he had left them we learn from thence, that he returns with a multitude.
Aug.: (ed. note: This passage, headed 'Augustinus' in the Bodl. MS., and 'Aug de Verb. Dom.' in the earlier editions, is apparently taken from two canons in the 3d pt. of Gratian, viz. c. 70. and c. 58. to which Augustine's name is there prefixed. It has not been found in S. Augustine's works. But it is found in Bede on I Cor. x. who also quotes it from 'Aug. de verb. Evang.')
"And said, Take, eat;" The Lord invites His servants to set before them Himself for food. But who would dare to eat his Lord? This food when eaten refreshes, but fails not; He lives after being eaten, Who rose again after being put to death. Neither when we eat Him do we divide His substance; but thus it is in this Sacrament. The faithful know how they feed on Christ's flesh, each man receives a part for himself. He is divided into parts in the Sacrament, yet He remains whole; He is all in heaven, He is all in thy heart.
They are called Sacraments, because in them what is seen is one thing, what is understood is another; what is seen has a material form, what is understood has spiritual fruit.
Aug., in Joan. Tr., 27, 11: Let us not eat Christ's flesh only in the Sacrament, for that do many wicked men, but let us eat to spiritual participation, that we may abide as members in the Lord's body, that we may be quickened by His Spirit.
Ambrose, de Sacr., iv, 5: Before consecration, it is bread; after Christ's words, "This is my body," have been pronounced, it is Christ's Body.
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