Golden Chain 5024
5024 (Mt 20,24-28)
Chrys.: So long as the judgment of Christ upon this request was in suspense, the other disciples were not indignant; but when they heard Him rebuke them, they were sorrowful; whence it is said, "And when the ten heard it, they had indignation against the two brethren."
Jerome: They do not lay it upon the forwardness of the mother who spoke the request, but upon her sons, who, not knowing their measure, burned with so immoderate desires.
Chrys.: For when the Lord rebuked them, then they perceived that this request was from the disciples. For though they were grieved in their hearts when they saw them so especially honoured in the transfiguration, they yet dared not so express themselves, out of respect to their teacher.
Pseudo-Chrys.: But as the (p. 696) two had asked carnally, so now the ten are grieved carnally. For as to seek to be above all is blameworthy, so to have another above us is mortifying to our vanity.
Jerome: But the meek and lowly Master neither charges the two with ambition, nor rebukes the ten for their spleen and jealousy; but, "Jesus called them unto him."
Chrys.: By thus calling them to Him, and speaking to them face to face, he sooths them in their discomposure; for the two had been speaking with the Lord apart by themselves. But not now as before does He it by bringing forward a child, but He proves it to them by reasoning from contraries; "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them."
Origen: That is, not content merely to rule over their subjects, they are severe and oppressive. But among you who are Mine these things shall not be so; for as all carnal things are done by compulsion, but spiritual things by free-will, so those rulers who are spiritual ought to rest their power in the love of their subjects, not in their fears.
Chrys.: He shews here that it is of the Gentiles to desire preeminence; and by this comparison of the Gentiles He calms their troubled souls.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Indeed, to desire a good work is good, for it is within our will, and ours is the reward; but to desire a primacy of honour is vanity. For when we attain this we are judged of God, because we know not whether in our precedence of honour we deserve the reward of righteousness. For not even an Apostle will have praise with God, because he is an Apostle, but if he has well fulfilled the duties of his Apostleship; nor was an Apostle placed in honour as an Apostle, for any previous merit of his; but was judged meet for that ministry, on account of the disposition of his mind.
For high place courts him who flies from it, and shuns him who courts it. A better life then, and not a more worthy degree, should be our object. The Lord therefore, willing to check the ambition of the two sons of Zebedee, and the indignation of the others, points out this distinction between the chief men of the world, and those of the Church, shewing that the primacy in Christ is neither to be sought by him who has it not, nor envied by him who has it. For men become masters in this world that they may exercise domination over their inferiors, and reduce (p. 697) them to slavery, and rob them, and employ them even to death for their own profit and glory.
But men become governors in the Church, that they may serve those who are under them, and minister to them whatever they have received of Christ, that they may postpone their own convenience, and mind that of others, and not refuse even to die for the sake of those beneath them. To seek therefore a command in the Church is neither righteous, nor profitable. No prudent man will voluntarily subject himself to slavery, nor to stand in such peril wherein he will have to render account for the whole Church; unless it be one perchance who fears not God's judgment, who abuses His ecclesiastical primacy to a secular end, so that He converts it into a secular primacy.
Jerome: Lastly, He sets before them His own example, that so should they little weigh His words, His deeds might shame them, whence He adds, "As also the Son of Man cometh not to be ministered unto, but to minister."
Origen: For though the Angels and Martha ministered to Him, yet did He not come to be ministered unto, but to minister; (marg. note: Mt 4,11 Jn 12,2) yea, His ministry extended so far, that He fulfilled even what follows, "And to give his life a ransom for many," they, that is, who believed on Him; and gave it, i. e. to death.
But since He was alone free among the dead, and mightier than the power of death, He has set free from death all who were willing to follow Him. The heads of the Church ought therefore to imitate Christ in being affable, adapting Himself to women, laying His hands on children, and washing His disciples' feet, that they also should do the same to their brethren.
But we are such, that we seem to go beyond the pride even of the great ones of this world; as to the command of Christ, either not understanding it, or setting it at nought. Like princes we seek hosts to go before us, we make ourselves awful and difficult of access, especially to the poor, neither approaching them, nor suffering them to approach us.
Chrys.: How much soever you humble yourself, you cannot descend so far as did your Lord.
5029 (Mt 20,29-34)
(p. 698) Pseudo-Chrys.: As the proof of the husbandman's industry lies in the abundance of his crop, so the fulness of the Church is the evidence of an industrious teacher; so it is here said, "And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him." No one was deterred by the toilsomeness of the journey, for spiritual love feels no fatigue; no one was kept away by the thought of sufferings, for they were going into possession of the kingdom of heaven.
For he who has in very deed tasted the reality of heavenly good, has nothing to attach him to earth. In good season these blind men come before Christ, that having their eyes opened, they may go up with Him to Jerusalem as witnesses to His power. They heard the sound of the passers by, but saw not their persons, and having nothing free about them but their voice, because they could not follow Him with their feet, they pursued Him with their voice; "When they heard that Jesus passed by, they cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David."
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 65: Mark relates this miracle, but speaks of only one blind man. This difficulty is thus explained; of the two blind linen whom Matthew has introduced, one was well known in that city, as appears by Mark's mentioning both his name, and that of his father. Bartimaeus (p. 699) the son of Timaeus was well known as having sunk from great affluence, and now sitting not only blind, but a beggar. For this reason then it is that Mark chose to mention him alone, because the restoration of his sight procured fame to the miracle, in proportion to the notoriety of the fact of his blindness. Though what Luke relates was done after the same manner, yet his account (marg. note: Lc 18,35) is to be taken of another though similar miracle. That which he gives was done as they drew near to Jericho; this in the other two as they came out of Jericho.
"And the multitude rebuked them that they should hold their peace."
Pseudo-Chrys.: For they saw how mean their clothes, and considered not how pure their consciences. See the foolish wisdom of men! They think great men are hurt when they receive the homage of the poor. What poor man dare salute a rich man in public?
Hilary: Or, They bid them hold their peace, not from reverence for Christ, but because they were grieved to hear from the blind what they denied, namely, that the Lord was the Son of David.
Origen: Or; Those that believed rebuked them that they should not dishonour Him by styling Him merely Son of David, but should rather say, Son of God, have mercy on us.
Pseudo-Chrys.: They were rather encouraged than repelled by this rebuke. For so faith is quickened by being prohibited; and hence is secure in dangers, and in security is endangered; whence it follows, But they cried out the more, saying, "Have mercy upon us, Son of David." They cried out at the first because they were blind, now they rather cried out because they were forbidden to come to the Light.
Chrys., Hom., lxvi: Christ suffered them to be forbidden, that their desire might be the more evidenced. Hence learn that though we be repulsed, yet if we come to God with earnestness, of ourselves, we shall obtain that we ask.
It follows, "And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I should do unto you?"
Jerome: Jesus stood still, because they being blind could not see their way. About Jericho were many pits, crags, and abrupt precipices; therefore the Lord stands still, that they might come to Him.
Origen: Or; Jesus does not pass on, but stands still, that by His standing His goodness may not pass by, but as from an abiding fount mercy may flow forth upon them.
Jerome: (p. 700) He commands that they be called to Him that the multitude may not withhold them; and He asks them what they would, that by their answer, their necessity may be made apparent, and His power be shewn in their healing.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or; He asks them on account of their faith, that whereas they who were blind confess Christ to be the Son of God, those who had their sight might be put to shame for their esteeming Him only man. They had indeed called Christ, "Lord," and they had spoken true; but by calling Him the "Son of David," they obliterated this their good confession.
For indeed by a misuse of words men are called Lords, but none is truly Lord, but God only. When therefore they say, "O Lord, thou Son of David," they thus misapply the term to Christ, as esteeming Him man; had they only called Him Lord, they would have confessed His Godhead. When then He asks them, "What would ye?" they no longer style Him Son of David, but only Lord; "They say unto Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened." For the Son of David cannot open the eyes of the blind, but the Son of God can. So long then as they cried, "O Lord, thou Son of David," their cure was delayed; as soon as they said, "Lord," only, healing was shed upon them; for it follows, "And Jesus had compassion upon them, and touched their eyes, and straightway they saw." He touched them carnally as man, He healed them as God.
Jerome: The Creator bestows what nature had not given; or at least mercy accords what weakness had withheld.
Chrys.: But as before this bounty they had been persevering, so after the receiving it they were not ungrateful.
Pseudo-Chrys.: On being healed they rendered a high service to Christ; for it follows, "And they followed him." For this the Lord requires of thee, according to the Prophet, that "thou be careful to walk with the Lord thy God." (Mi 6,8)
Jerome: They then who had sat shut up in Jericho, and knew only to cry with their voice, afterwards follow Jesus, not so much with their feet as in their virtues.
Raban.: But Jericho, which is interpreted 'the moon,' denotes the infirmity of our changefulness.
Origen: Figuratively, Jericho is taken to be the world, into which Christ came down. They who are in Jericho, know not how to escape from the wisdom of the world, unless they (p. 701) see not Jesus only coming out of Jericho, but also His disciples. This when they saw, great multitudes followed Him, despising the world and all worldly things, that under His guidance they may go up to the heavenly Jerusalem.
The two blind men we may call Judah and Israel, who before the coming of Christ were blind, not seeing the true word which was in the Law and the Prophets, yet sitting by the wayside of the Law and the Prophets, and understanding Him only as after the flesh, they cried to Him who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.
Jerome: By the two blind men are generally understood the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 28: Otherwise; The two blind men sitting by the wayside, denote certain of both nations already by faith coming in to that temporal dispensation, according to which Christ is the way, and seeking to be enlightened, that is, to know something concerning the eternity of the Word. This they desired to obtain from the Lord as He passed by, for the merit of that faith by which He is believed to be the Son of God, to have been born man, and to have suffered for us; for in this dispensation, Jesus, as it were, passes by, for all action is of this world.
Also it behoved that they should cry out so loud as to overpower the din of the multitude that withstood them; that is, so to fortify their minds by perseverance and prayer, and mortifying continually the usage of fleshly lusts, (which as a crowd ever beset one that is endeavouring to come to the sight of eternal truth,) and by the straitest painfulness to get the better of the multitude of carnal men who hinder spiritual aspirations.
Aug., Serm., 88, 13: For bad or lukewarm Christians are an hindrance to good Christians, who seek to perform the commandments of God. Notwithstanding these cry and faint not; for every Christian at his first setting about to live well and to despise the world, has to endure at the first the censures of cold Christians; but if he persevere, they will soon comply, who but now withstood him.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., ii, 28: Jesus therefore, the same who said, "To him that knocketh it shall be opened," hearing them, stands still, touches them, and gives them light. Faith in His temporal incarnation prepares us for the understanding of things eternal. By the passing by of Jesus they are admonished that they (p. 702) should be enlightened, and when He stands still they are enlightened; for things temporal pass by, but things eternal stand still.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Some interpret that the two blind men are the Gentiles; one sprung from Cham, the other from Japhet; they sat by the wayside, that is, they walked hard by the truth, but they could not find it out; or they were placed in reason, not having yet received knowledge of the Word.
Raban.: But recognizing the rumour of Christ, they desired to be made partakers of Him. Many spake against them; first the Jews, as we read in the Acts; then the Gentiles harassed them by persecution; but yet they might not deprive those who were preordained to life of salvation.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Accordingly Jesus touched the eyes of the Gentile mind, giving them the grace of the Holy Spirit, and when enlightened they followed Him with good works.
Origen: We also now sitting by the wayside of the Scriptures, and understanding wherein we are blind, if we ask with desire, He will touch the eyes of our souls, and the gloom of ignorance shall depart from our minds, that in the light of knowledge we may follow Him, who gave us power to see to no other end than that we should follow Him.
5101 (Mt 21,1-9)
(p. 703-704) Remig.: The Evangelist related above that the Lord departed from Galilee, and began to go up to Jerusalem. Being now occupied with telling what He did by the way, he proceeds in his purpose, saying, "And when they drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage." Bethphage was a small village of the priests, situated on the declivity of Mount Olivet, one mile distant from Jerusalem. For the priests who ministered in the temple their apportioned time, when their office of ministration was discharged, withdrew to this village to abide; as also did they who were to take their place. Because it was commanded by their Law that none should travel on the Sabbath more than a mile.
Origen: Whence Bethphage is interpreted, The house of the Shoulder; for the shoulder was the priest's portion in the Law. It follows, "Then Jesus sent two of his disciples."
Pseudo-Chrys.: He said not to His disciples, Say, Thy Lord, or Your Lord, hath need of them; that they may understand, that He is Lord alone, not of the beasts only, but of all men; for even sinners are by the law of nature His, though by their own will they are the Devil's.
Chrys.: And think not this a little thing which was now done, for who was it that wrought with the owners of the beasts that they refused not, but yielded them? By this also He instructs His disciples that He could have restrained the Jews, but would not; and further teaches them that they should grant whatever is asked of them; for if they who knew not Christ, now granted this, much more it becomes His disciples to give unto all. For that which is said, "But will straightway let them go,"
Pseudo-Chrys.: it is to be understood, that after He had entered into Jerusalem, the beast was returned by Christ to its owner.
Gloss., ap. Anselm: Or, The owner of the beasts will straightway send them to be engaged for Christ's service. Hereto is added the testimony of the Prophet, that it may be shewn that the Lord fulfilled all things which were written of Him, but that the Scribes and Pharisees, blinded by envy, would not understand the things that they read; "All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet;" to wit, Zacharias. (Za 9,9)
Pseudo-Chrys.: For the Prophet knowing the malice of the Jews, that they would speak against Christ when He went up to the Temple, gave (p. 705) them this sign beforehand, whereby they might know their King, "Say ye to the daughter of Sion."
Raban.: In history, Daughter of Sion is the name given to the city of Jerusalem, which stands on mount Sion. But mystically, it is the Church of the faithful pertaining to the Jerusalem which is above.
Pseudo-Chrys.: "Behold," is a word used in pointing out any thing; look, that is, not with the bodily eye, but with the spiritual understanding, at the works of His power. Also aforetimes He oft said, "Behold," that He might shew that He of whom He spake before He was born was even then thy King. When then ye shall see Him, say not, "We have no King but Caesar. He cometh to thee," (Jn 19,15) if thou wilt apprehend Him, that He may save thee; if thou wilt not apprehend Him, He cometh against thee; "Meek," so that He is not to be feared for His power, but loved for His meekness; wherefore He sitteth not on a golden car, refulgent in costly purple, nor is mounted on a mettled steed, rejoicing in strife and battle, but upon a she-ass, that loves peace and quiet.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 66: In this quotation from the Prophet, there is some variety in the different Gospels. Matthew quotes it as if the Prophet had expressly mentioned the she-ass; but it is not so quoted by John (marg. note: Jn 12,15), nor in the Church-copies of the translation in common use. This seems to me to be accounted for by the account, that Matthew wrote his Gospel in the Hebrew language. And it is clear that the translation called the LXX, has some things different from what are found in the Hebrew, by those who know that tongue, and who have rendered the same books out of the Hebrew. If the reason of this discrepancy be asked, I consider nothing more likely than that the LXX interpreted with the selfsame spirit with which the original was written, which is confirmed by that wonderful agreement among them of which we are told.
By thus varying the expression, while they did not depart from the meaning of that God whose words they were, they convey to us the very same thing as we gather from this agreement, with slight variety, among the Evangelists. This shews us that it is no lie, when one relates any thing with such diversities in detail, as that he does not depart from his intention with whom he ought to agree. To know this is useful in morals in avoiding lies; and for faith itself, that (p. 706) we should not suppose that the truth is secured in sacred sounds, as though God imparted to us not the matter only, but the words in which the matter is conveyed. Rather the matter is in such sort conveyed in words, that we ought not to want words at all, if it were possible that the matter could be known by us without words, as God and His Angels know it.
It follows, "But the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt." The other Evangelists say nothing of the ass. And if Matthew had not mentioned the colt, as they do not mention the ass, the reader ought not to have been surprised. How much less then should it move him, when one has so mentioned the ass which the others have omitted, as not to forget the colt which they have mentioned. For there is no discrepancy where both circumstances may have occurred, though one only related one, and another; how much less then where one mentions both, though another mentions only one?
It follows, "And they put on them their clothes, and set him thereon."
Jerome: But it seems that the Lord could not in so short a distance have sate upon both animals; seeing then that the history has either an impossibility or a meanness, we are sent to higher things, that is, to the figurative sense.
Remig.: Notwithstanding, it was possible that the Lord might have sate upon both animals.
Chrys.: To me it seems that He was mounted upon the ass, not only because of the mystery, but to give us a lesson of wisdom, teaching us therein that it needs not to be mounted on horses, but that it is sufficient to employ an ass, and be content with that which is necessary. But enquire of the Jews, what King has entered Jerusalem mounted upon an ass? They can name none other, but this one only.
Jerome: The multitudes that came out of Jericho, and followed the Saviour, cast down their garments, and strewed the way with branches of trees; and therefore it follows, "But the multitudes spread their garments in the way;" that is, beneath the feet of the ass, that it should not stumble against a stone, nor tread upon a thorn, nor fall into a ditch. "Others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way;" from the fruit-trees, that is, with which mount Olivet was clothed.
And when all that could be done was done, they added also (p. 707) the tribute of the tongue, as it follows, "And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosannna to the Son of David."
I shall shortly examine what is the meaning of this word, Hosanna. In the hundred and seventeenth Psalm, which is clearly written of the Saviour's coming, we read this among other things; "Save me now, O Lord, send now prosperity. Blessed art thou that art to come in the name of the Lord." (Ps 118,25) For that which the LXX give, "Save now, O Lord;" we read in the Hebrew, 'Anna, adonai osianna,' which Symmachus renders more plainly, "I pray thee, O Lord, save, I pray thee." Let none think that it is a word made up of two words, one Greek and one Hebrew, for it is pure Hebrew.
Remig.: And it is confounded of one perfect and one imperfect word. For 'Hosi' signifies 'save," 'anna' is an interjection used in entreating.
Jerome: For it signifies that the coming of Christ is the salvation of the world, whence it follows, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Which same thing the Saviour in the Gospel confirms, "I am come in my John Father's name." (Jn 5,43)
Remig.: Because, namely, in all His good actions, He sought not His own but His Father's glory.
Gloss., ap. Anselm: And the meaning is, "Blessed," that is, Glorious, "is He that cometh," that is, is incarnate; "in the name of the Lord;" that is, of the Father, by glorifying Him. Again they repeat, "Hosanna," that is, "Save, I pray thee," and define whither they would be saved, in the highest, that is in the heavenly, not in the earthly places.
Jerome: Or by that which is added, "Hosanna," that is, Salvation, "in the highest," it is clearly shewn that the coming of Christ is not the salvation of man only, but of the whole world, joining earthly things to things heavenly.
Origen: Or when they say, "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord," it is the dispensation of Christ's humanity that they set forth; but His restoration to the holy places when they say, "Hosanna in the highest."
Pseudo-Chrys.: "Hosanna," some interpret 'glory,' some 'redemption," and glory is His due, and redemption belongs to Him who has redeemed all men.
Hilary: The words of their song of praise, express His power of redemption; in calling Him the Son of David, they acknowledge His hereditary title to the kingdom, (p. 708)
Pseudo-Chrys.: Never before had the Lord employed the services of beasts, nor surrounded Himself with the ornaments of green boughs, till now when He is going up to Jerusalem to suffer. He moved them that beheld to do that which they had before desired to do; so it was opportunity that was now given them, not their purpose that was changed.
Jerome: Mystically; The Lord draws near to Jerusalem departing from Jericho, and taking great multitudes with Him, because great and laden with great wares, that is, the salvation of believers that has been entrusted to Him, He seeks to enter the city of peace, the place of the beholding of God. And He comes to Bethphage, that is, to The house of the jawbones; He bare also the type of confession; and halted on Mount Olivet, where is the light of knowledge, and the repose from toils and pains. By the village over against the Apostles is denoted this world; for that was against the Apostles, and was not willing to receive the light of their teaching.
Remig.: The Lord therefore sent His disciples from mount Olivet to the village, when He guided the preachers forth from the primitive Church into the world. He sent two, because there were two orders of preachers, as the Apostle shews, saying, "He that wrought in Peter to the Apostleship of circumcision, the same was mighty in me towards the Gentiles;" (Ga 2,8) or, because the precepts of charity are two; or, because there are two testaments; or, because there is letter and spirit.
Jerome: Or, because there is theory and practice, that is, knowledge and works. By the ass which had been under the yoke, and was broken, the synagogue is understood. By the ass's colt wild and unbroken, the Gentile people; for the Jewish nation is towards God the mother of the Gentiles.
Raban.: Whence Matthew, who wrote his Gospel to the Jews, is the only one who mentions that the ass was brought to the Lord, to shew that this same Hebrew nation, if it repent, need not despair of salvation.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Men are likened to animals, from some resemblance they bear in their not recognising the Son of God. And this animal is unclean, and beyond all other brutes incapable of reasoning, a stupid, helpless, ignoble drudge. Such were men before the coming of Christ, unclean with divers passions; unreasoning, that is, (p. 709) lacking the reason of the Word; stupid, in their disregard of God; weak in soul; ignoble, because forgetting their heavenly birth they became slaves of their passions, and of the demons; drudges, because they toiled under the load of error laid upon them by the daemons, or the Pharisees.
The ass was tied, that is, bound in the chain of diabolic error, so that it had not liberty to go whither it would; for before we do any sin we have free will to follow, or not, the will of the Devil; but if once by sinning we have bound ourselves to do his works, we are no longer able to escape by our own strength, but, like a vessel that has lost its rudder is tossed at the mercy of the storm, so man, when by sin he has forfeited the aid of Divine grace, no longer acts as he wills, but as the Devil wills. And if God, by the mighty arm of His mercy, do not loose him, he will abide till death in the chain of his sins. Therefore He saith to His disciples, "Loose them," that is, by your teaching and miracles, for all the Jews and Gentiles were loosed by the Apostles; "and bring them to me," that is, convert them to My glory.
Origen: Whence also, when He ascended into heaven, He gave command to His disciples that they should loose sinners, for which also He gave them the Holy Spirit. But being loosed, and making progress, and being nourished by the Divinity of the Word, they are held worthy to be sent back to the place whence they were taken, but no more to their former labours, but to preach to them the Son of God, and this is what He signifies when He says, "And straightway He will send them."
Hilary: Or by the ass and the colt is shewn the twofold calling from among the Gentiles. For the Samaritans did serve after a certain fashion of obedience, and they are signified by the ass; but the other Gentiles wild and unbroken are signified by the colt. Therefore two are sent to loose them that are bound by the chains of error; Samaria believed through Philip, and Cornelius as the first-fruits of the Gentiles was brought by Peter to Christ.
Remig.: But as it was then said to the Apostles, "If any man say ought to you, say ye, The Lord hath need of them;" so now it is commanded to the preachers, that though any opposition he made to them, they should not slack to preach.
Jerome: The Apostles' clothes which are laid upon the beasts may be understood either as the teaching of virtues, or discernment of Scriptures, or (p. 710) verities of ecclesiastical dogmas, with which, unless the soul be furnished and instructed, it deserves not to have the Lord take His seat there.
Remig.: The Lord sitting upon the ass goes towards Jerusalem, because presiding over the Holy Church, or the faithful soul, He both guides it in this life, and after this life leads it to the view of the heavenly country. But the Apostles and other teachers set their garments upon the ass, when they gave to the Gentiles the glory which they had received from Christ. The multitudes spread their garments in the way, when they of the circumcision who believed, despised the glory which they had by the Law. They cut down branches from the trees, because out of the Prophets they had heard of the green "Branch" as an emblem of Christ. (marg. note: Is 11,1, Jer 23:5)
Or, the multitudes who spread their garments in the way, are the martyrs who gave to martyrdom for Christ their bodies, which are the clothing of their minds. Or, they are signified, who subdue their bodies by abstinence. They who cut down the branches of the trees, are they who seek out the sayings and examples of the holy fathers for their own or their children's salvation.
Jerome: When He says, "The multitudes that went before and that followed," He shews that both people, those who before the Gospel, and those who after the Gospel, believed on the Lord, praise Jesus with the harmonious voice of confession.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Those prophesying spoke of Christ who was to come; these speak in praise of the coming of Christ already fulfilled.
5110 (Mt 21,10-16)
(p. 711) Jerome: When Jesus entered with the multitudes, the whole city of Jerusalem was moved, wondering at the crowds, and not knowing the power.
Pseudo-Chrys.: With good reason were they moved at sight of a thing so to be wondered at. Man was praised as God, but it was the God that was praised in the man. But, I suppose, that neither they who praised knew what they praised, but the Spirit that suddenly inspired there poured forth the words of truth.
Origen: Moreover, when Jesus entered the true Jerusalem, they cried out, wondering at His heavenly virtues, and said, "Who is this King of glory?" (Ps 24,8)
Jerome: While others were in doubt or enquiring, the worthless multitude confessed Him; "But the people said, This is Jesus the Prophet from Nazareth in Galilee." They begin with the lesser that they may come to the greater. They hail Him as that Prophet whom Moses had said should come like to himself, (marg. note: Dt 15,18) which is rightly written in Greek with the testimony of the article, "From Nazareth of Galilee," (marg. note: ) for there He had been brought up, that the flower of the field might be nourished with the flower of all excellencies.
Raban.: But it is to be noted, that this entry of His into Jerusalem was five days before the passover. For John relates, that six days before the Passover He came to Bethany, (Jn 12,1) and on the morrow sitting on the ass entered Jerusalem. In this observe the correspondence between the Old and New Testaments, not only in things but in seasons. For on the tenth day of the first month, the lamb that was to be sacrificed for the passover was to be taken into the house, (marg. note: Ex 12,3) because on the same day of the same month, that is, five days before the passover, the Lord was to enter the city in which He was to suffer.
Pseudo-Chrys.: "And Jesus entered into the temple of God." This was the part of a good Son to (p. 712) haste to His Father's house, and do Him honour; so you then becoming an imitator of Christ as soon as you enter into any city, first run to the Church. Further, it was the part of a good physician, that having entered to heal the sick city, he should first apply himself to the source of the sickness; for as every thing good cometh out of the temple, so also doth every evil. For when the priesthood is sound, the whole Church flourishes, but if it is corrupt, faith is impaired; and as when you see a tree whose leaves are pale-coloured you know that it is diseased at its root, so when you see an undisciplined people conclude without hesitation that their priesthood is unsound.
Jerome: "And he cast out all them that sold and bought." It should be known that in obedience to the Law, in the Temple of the Lord venerated throughout the whole world, and resorted to by Jews out of every quarter, innumerable victims were sacrificed, especially on festival days, bulls, rams, goats; the poor offering young pigeons and turtle-doves, that they might not omit all sacrifice. But it would happen that those who came from a distance would have no victim.
The Priests therefore contrived a plan for making a gain out of the people, selling to such as had no victim the animals which they had need of for sacrifice, and themselves receiving them back again as soon as sold. But this fraudulent practice was often defeated by the poverty of the visitors, who lacking means had neither victims, nor whence to purchase them. They therefore appointed bankers who might lend to them under a bond. But because the Law forbade usury, and money lent without interest was profitless, besides sometimes a loss of the principal, they bethought themselves of another scheme; instead of bankers they appointed 'collybistae,' a word for which the Latin has no equivalent.
(ed. note: " St. Jerome here gives a different sense of the word, from what is commonly received among ancient writers. Hesychius, as far as I know, is the only one who agrees with him, and he interprets "collyba", sweetmeats. At the same time Hesychius himself makes its proper sense to be "a kind of coin, with an ox stamped on the brass." Pollux and Suidas and others agree with this interpretation, so far as to make the word stand for a small coin. Hence Collybists were those who gave change in small coin. Origen too, to whom St. Jerome is indebted for a great part of his exposition, understands by Collybists those who change good coin for bad, to the injury of those who employ them." Vallars, in loc.)
Sweetmeats and other trifling presents they called 'collyba,' such, for example, as parched pulse, raisins, and apples of divers sorts. As then they could not take (p. 713) usury, they accepted the value in kind, taking things that are bought with money, as if this was not what Ezekiel preached of, saying, "Ye shall not receive usury nor increase." (Ez 18,17) This kind of traffic, or cheating rather, the Lord seeing in His Father's house, and moved thereat with spiritual zeal, cast out of the Temple this great multitude of men.
Origen: For in that they ought neither to sell nor to buy, but to give their time to prayer, being assembled in a house of prayer, whence it follows, "And he saith unto them, It is written, My shall be called a house of prayer." (Is 56,7)
Aug., Regula ad Serv. Dei., 3: Let no one therefore do ought in the oratory, but that for which it was made and whence it got its name. It follows, "But ye have made it a den of thieves."
Jerome: For he is indeed a thief, and turns the temple of God into a den of thieves, who makes a gain of his religion. Among all the miracles wrought by our Lord, this seems to me the most wonderful, that one man, and He at that time mean to such a degree that He was afterwards crucified, and while the Scribes and Pharisees were exasperated against Him seeing their gains thus cut off, was able by the blows of one scourge to cast out so great a multitude. Surely a flame and starry ray darted from his eyes, and the majesty of the Godhead was radiant in his countenance.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 68: It is manifest that the Lord did this thing not once but twice; the first time is told by John, this second occasion by the other three.
Chrys., Hom., lxvii: Which aggravates the fault of the Jews, who after He had done the same thing twice, yet persisted in their hardness.
Origen: Mystically; The Temple of God is the Church of Christ, wherein are many, who live not, as they ought, spiritually, but after the flesh; and that house of prayer which is built of living stones they make by their actions to be a den of thieves. But if we must express more closely the three kinds of men cast out of the Temple, we may say thus. Whosoever among a Christian people spend their time in nothing else but buying and selling, continuing but little in prayers or in other right actions, these are the buyers and sellers in the Temple of God. Deacons who do not lay out well the funds of their Churches, but grow rich out of the poor man's portion, these are the money-changers whose tables Christ overturns.
But that the deacons preside over the tables of Church money, we learn from the Acts of the Apostles. (marg. note: Ac 6,2) Bishops who commit (p. 714) Churches to those they ought not, are they that sell the doves, that is, the grace of the Holy Spirit, whose seats Christ overturns.
Jerome: But, according to the plain sense, the doves were not in seats, but in cages; unless indeed the sellers of the doves were sitting in seats; but that were absurd, for the seat denotes the dignity of the teacher, which is brought down to nothing when it is mixed with covetousness.
Mark also, that through the avarice of the Priests, the altars of God are called tables of money-changers. What we have spoken of Churches let each man understand of himself, for the Apostle says, "Ye are the temple of God." (2Co 6,16) Let there not be therefore in the abode of your breast the spirit of bargaining, nor the desire of gifts, lest Jesus, entering in anger and sternness, should purify His temple not without scourging, that from a den of thieves He should make it a house of prayers.
Origen: Or, in His second coming He shall cast forth and overturn those whom He shall find unworthy in God's temple.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For this reason also He overturns the tables of the money-changers, to signify that in the temple of God ought to be no coin save spiritual, such as bears the image of God, not an earthly image. He overturns the seats of those that sold doves, saying by that deed, What make in My temple so many doves for sale, since that one Dove descended of free gift upon the temple of My Body? What the multitude had proclaimed by their shouts, the Lord shews in deeds.
Whence it follows, "And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them."
Origen: For in the temple of God, that is in the Church, all have not eyesight, nor do all walk uprightly, but only they who understand that there is need of Christ and of none other to heal them; they coming to the Word of God are healed.
Remig.: That they are healed in the Temple signifies, that men cannot be healed but in the Church, to which is given the power of binding and loosing.
Jerome: For had He not overthrown the tables of the money-changers and the seats of them that sold doves, the blind and the lame would not have deserved that their wonted sight and power of motion should be restored to them in the temple.
Chrys.: But not even thus were the Chief Priests convinced, but at His miracles and the shouts of the children they had indignation.
Jerome: For, not daring to lay hands on Him, the (p. 715) Priests defame his works, and the testimony of the children who cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," as though this might be said to none but to the Son of God only. Let then Bishops and all holy men take heed how they suffer these things to be said to them, if this is charged as a fault in Him who is truly Lord to whom this was said, because the faith of the believers was not yet confirmed.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For as a pillar a little out of the perpendicular, if more weight be laid upon it, is driven to lean still more to one side; so also the heart of man when once turned aside, is only stirred the more with jealousy by seeing or hearing deeds of some righteous man. In this way the Priests were stirred up against Christ, and said, "Hearest thou what these say?"
Jerome: But the answer of Christ was cautious. He spake not what the Scribes would fain have heard, The children do well that they bear witness to me; nor on the other hand, They do what is wrong, they are but children, you ought to be indulgent to their tender years. But He brings a quotation from the eighth Psalm, (Ps 8,2) that though the Lord were silent, the testimony of Scripture might defend the words of the children, as it follows, "But Jesus said unto them, Yea, have ye never read, &c."
Pseudo-Chrys.: As though He had said, Be it so, it is My fault that these cry thus. But is it My fault that so many thousand years before the Prophet foretold that so it should be? But babes and sucklings cannot know or praise any one. Therefore they are called babes, not in age, but in guilelessness of heart; sucklings, because they cried out being moved by their joy at the wonderful things they beheld, as by the sweetness of milk. Miraculous works are called milk, because the beholding of miracles is no toil, but rather excites wonder, and gently invites to the faith. Bread is the doctrine of perfect righteousness, which none can receive but they who have their senses exercised about spiritual things.
Chrys.: This was at once a type of the Gentiles, and no small comfort to the Apostles; for that they might not be perplexed, contriving how having no education for the purpose they should preach the Gospel, these children going before them did away that fear; for He who made these to sing His praises, shall give speech to those. This (p. 716) miracle also shews that Christ was the Framer of nature; seeing the children spoke things full of meaning, and agreeing with the Prophets, whereas the men uttered things meaningless, and full of frenzy.
Golden Chain 5024