Golden Chain 5117
5117 (Mt 21,17-22)
Pseudo-Chrys.: A bad man is better overcome by giving way to him than by replying to him; for wickedness is not instructed but stimulated by reproof. The Lord accordingly sought by withdrawing Himself to check those whom His words could not check; whence it is said, "And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany."
Jerome: Hence it is to be understood that the Lord was in so great poverty, and so far from having courted any one, that He had found in all that city neither entertainer, nor abode, but He made His home in a little village, in the house of Lazarus and his sisters; for their village was Bethany; and it follows, "and He lodged there."
Pseudo-Chrys.: Seeking surely to lodge in the body where His spirit also reposed; for so it is with (p. 717) all holy men, they love to be not where sumptuous banquets are, but where holiness flourishes.
Jerome: When the shades of night were dispersed, and He was returning to the city, the Lord was an hungred, thus shewing the reality of His human body.
Gloss., ap. Anselm: For in permitting His flesh to suffer that which properly pertains to flesh, He foreshews His passion. Mark the earnest zeal of the active labourer, Who is said to have gone early into the city to preach, and to gain some to His Father.
Jerome: The Lord about to suffer among the nations, and to take upon Him the offence of the Cross, sought to strengthen the minds of His disciples by a previous miracle; whence it follows, "And seeing a fig-tree by the wayside, He came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only."
Chrys.: He came not because He was an hungred, but for His disciples' sake; for because He ever did good and inflicted suffering on none, it behaved that He should set forth an example of His power of punishment; and this He would not exert upon man, but upon a plant.
Hilary: Herein also we find proof of the Lord's goodness; where He was minded to shew forth an instance of the salvation procured by His means, He exerted the power of His might on the persons of men; by healing their present sicknesses, encouraging them to hope for the future, and to look for the healing of their soul. But now when He would exhibit a type of His judgments on the rebellious, He represents the future by the destruction of a tree; "Let no fruit grow on, thee henceforward for ever."
Jerome: "For ever," (in sempiternum,) or, "To the end of the world," (in saeculum,) for the Greek word,, signifies both.
Chrys.: This was only a supposition of the disciples that it was cursed because it had not fruit; for another Evangelist says that it was not yet the season. Why then was it cursed? For the disciples' sake, that they might learn that He had power to wither up those who crucified Him. And He worked this miracle in that which of all plants is the most juicy, that the greatness of the miracle might be more apparent. And when aught of this kind is done to brutes or vegetables, ask not whether the fig were with justice withered up, seeing it was not the season for its fruit; for to enquire thus were extreme madness, for in such creatures (p. 718) there can be neither fault nor punishment; but consider the miracle, and admire the Worker of it.
Gloss. ord.: The Creator does no wrong to the owner, but His creature, at His will, is converted to the profit of others.
Chrys.: And that you may learn that this was done for their sakes, to the end, namely, that they should be stirred up to confidence, hear what is said further. Jesus answered and said unto them, "Verily I say unto you, if ye shall have faith."
Jerome: The Gentile dogs bark against us, affirming that the Apostles had not faith, because they were not able to remove mountains. To whom we answer, that many wonders were done by the Lord which are not written; and therefore we believe the Apostles to have done some not written, and that they were therefore not written, that the unbelieving might not have in them larger room for cavilling.
For let us ask them, do they believe the miracles which are written, or do they not! And when they look incredulous, we can then establish that they who believe not the lesser would not have believed the greater.
Chrys.: This that the Lord speaks of He ascribes to prayer and faith; whence He continues, "And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing ye shall receive."
Origen: For Christ's disciples pray for nothing that they ought not, and as confiding in their Master they pray only for things great and heavenly.
Raban.: But whenever we are not heard when we pray, it is either because we ask something adverse to the means of our salvation; or because the perverseness of those for whom we ask hinders its being granted to them; or because the performance of our request is put off to a future time, that our desires may wax stronger, and so may have more perfect capacity for the joys they seek after.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 68: It must be considered that Mark relates the wonder of the disciples at the withering of the tree, and the answer of the Lord concerning faith, to have been not on the day following the cursing of the tree, but on the third day after; and that on the second day Mark relates the casting of the merchants out of the Temple, which he had omitted on the first day. On the second day then he says that He went forth out of the city in the evening, and that as they passed by in the morning, the disciples then saw that the fig tree was withered.
But Matthew speaks as though all this had been (p. 719) done on the day following. This must be so taken as that when Matthew, having related that the fig tree was dried up, adds immediately, omitting all the events of the second day, "And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled," he yet meant that it was on another day that they marvelled. For the tree must be supposed to have withered at the time it was cursed, not at the time they saw it. For they did not see it withering, but when it was withered, and by that they understood that it had withered immediately upon the Lord's words.
Origen: Mystically; the Lord leaving the Chief Priests and Scribes withdrew without the earthly Jerusalem, which therefore fell. He came to Bethany to 'The house of obedience,' that is, to the Church, where when He had taken rest after the first erecting of the Church, He returned to the city which He had left a little while before, and returning, He was an hungred.
Pseudo-Chrys.: For had His hunger been as man for carnal food, He would not have hungred in the morning; he truly hungers in the morning who hungers after the salvation of others.
Jerome: The tree which He saw by the wayside we understand as the synagogue, which was nigh to the way inasmuch as it had the Law, but yet believed not on the way, that is, on Christ.
Hilary: And that is compared to a fig tree, because the Apostles being the first believers out of Israel, like green figs shall in the glory, and the time, of their resurrection, be before the rest.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Also the fig in respect of the multitude of seeds under one skin is as it were an assembly of the faithful. But He finds nothing on it but leaves only, that is, pharisaical traditions, an outward shew of the Law without the fruits of truth.
Origen: And because this plant was figuratively a living creature, having a soul, He speaks to it as though it heard. "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever." Therefore is the Jewish synagogue barren, and shall continue so until the end of the world, when the multitude of the Gentiles shall come in; and the fig tree withered while Christ was yet sojourning in this life; and the disciples seeing by their spiritual discernment the mystery of the withered faith, wondered; and having faith, and not doubting, they bare it, and so it withers when their lifegiving virtue passes to the Gentiles; and by each one (p. 720) who is brought to the faith, that mountain Satan is lifted up and cast into the sea, that is, into the abyss.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or; "Into the sea," that is, into the world where the waters are salt, i.e. the people are wicked.
Raban.: And he avenges his exclusion from the elect by more cruel treatment of the reprobate.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 29: Or, this is to be said by each servant of God in his own case respecting the mountain of pride, to cast it from him. Or, because by Jews the Gospel was preached, the Lord Himself, who is called the mount, is by the Jews cast among the Gentiles as into a sea.
Origen: For every man who is obedient to the word of God is Bethany, and Christ abides in him; but the wicked and the sinners He leaves. And when He has been with the righteous, He goes to other righteous after them, and accompanied by them; for it is not said that He left Bethany and went into the city. The Lord ever is an hungred among the righteous, desiring to eat among them the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which are love, joy, peace. But this fig tree which had leaves only without fruit, grew by the wayside.
Pseudo-Chrys.: That is, nigh to the world; for if a man lives nigh to the world, he cannot preserve in himself the fruit of righteousness.
Origen: But if the Lord come seeking fruit with temptations, and one be found having nought of righteousness but only a profession of faith, which is leaves without fruit, he is soon withered, losing even his seeming faith; and every disciple makes this fig tree to wither, by making it be seen that he is void of Christ, as Peter said to Simon, "Thy heart is not right in the sight of God." (Ac 8,21)
For it is better that a deceitful fig tree which is thought to be alive, yet brings forth no fruit, should be withered up at the word of Christ's disciples, than that by an imposture it should steal away innocent hearts. Also there is in every unbeliever a mountain great in proportion to his unbelief, which is removed by the words of Christ's disciples.
5123 (Mt 21,23-27)
(p. 721) Pseudo-Chrys.: The Priests were tormented with jealousy, because they had seen Christ entering the Temple in great glory. And not being able to master the fire of jealousy which burnt in their breasts, they break forth in speech.
Chrys.: Forasmuch as they could not detract from His miracles, they bring matter of blame from His forbidding to sell in the Temple. As though they had said, Hast Thou assumed the seat of authority? Hast Thou been anointed Priest, that Thou exertest this power?
Pseudo-Chrys.: By that they add, "Or who gave thee this authority?" they shew that there be many persons who give power to men, whether corporal or spiritual! as though they had said, Thou art not come of a priestly family; the Senate has not conferred on Thee this power, neither has Caesar granted it. But had they believed that all power is from God, they would never have asked, "Who gave thee this authority?" For every man judges of others by himself. The fornicator thinks that none are chaste; the chaste does not readily suspect any of fornication; he who is not a Priest of God, thinks no man's Priesthood to be of God.
Jerome: Or in these words they urge the same cavil as above, when they said, "He casteth out (p. 722) demons through Beelzebub the Prince of the demons." (Mt 12,24) For when they say, "By what authority doest thou thee things?" they doubt concerning the power of God, and would have it understood that the things He does are of the Devil. But when they add, "Who gave thee this authority?" they most clearly deny the Son of God, whom they suppose to work miracles, not by His own, but by others' strength.
The Lord could have confuted the calumny of His tempters by a simple answer, but He put a question to them of such skilful contrivance, that they must be condemned either by their silence or their knowledge; "Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one question."
Pseudo-Chrys.: Not that they should answer it, and thereupon hear of Christ the answer to their question, but that being puzzled they should ask Him no farther; according to that precept He had given above, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs." (Mt 7,6) For even if He had told them, it would have profited nothing, because the darkened will cannot perceive the things that are of the light. For him that enquires we ought to instruct, but him that tempts, to overthrow by a stroke of reasoning, but not to publish to him the power of the mystery.
The Lord thus sets before them in His question a dilemma; and that they might not escape Him, says, "Which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things." His question is this; "The baptism of John whence was it? from heaven, or of men?"
Aug., in Joan. Tr., v. 4: John received his authority to baptize from Him, whom he afterwards baptized; and that baptism which was committed to him is here called the baptism of John. He alone received such a gift; no righteous man before or after him was entrusted with a baptism to be called from himself. For John came to baptize in the water of repentance, to prepare the way for the Lord, not to give inward cleansing, which mere man cannot do.
Jerome: What the Priests revolved in their malice is shewn when he adds, "But they reasoned with themselves." For had they replied that it was from heaven, the question was inevitable, Why then were ye not baptized by John? But should they reply that it was an invention of human device, and had in it nothing divine, they feared a tumult among the people. For all the assembled multitudes had received John's baptism, (p. 723) and held him accordingly for a Prophet.
This godless party therefore make answer, and by a seeming humility of speech confessing that they know not, turned to hide their insidious designs. And they answered Jesus, and said, "We know not." In saying that they knew not, they lied; and it might have followed upon their answering thus, that the Lord also should say, I know not; but truth cannot lie, and therefore it follows, "And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."
This shews that they knew, but would not answer, and that He also knew, but would not answer, because they would not speak what they knew.
Origen: But some one will say in opposition to this, that it was absurd to ask by what authority Jesus did these things. For that it could not be that He would answer, that He did these by the Devil's authority; and He would not tell them as it truly was, that He did them by His own power. If it should be said, that the rulers put this question to Him in order to deter Him from His proceedings; as when we say to one who is dealing with what is ours in a way which we do not like, we say to him, Who bade thee do this? meaning to deter him from what he is so doing; -- if it is to be taken so, what means Christ's answer, Do you tell Me this, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Perhaps therefore, the place should be understood as follows. There are in the general two opposite powers, one on the side of God, the other on the side of the Devil; but of particular powers there are many; for it was not one and the same power that wrought in all the Prophets to enable them to do miracles, but one in these, another in those; and, it may be, for lesser things a lesser power, for greater things a greater power. The Chief Priests had seen Jesus working many miracles, whereupon they desired to know the special degree and properties of that power which wrought in Him. For others who have wrought miracles wrought them at first in one power, and afterwards when more advanced in another and greater power; but the Saviour wrought all in one power, that which He received of the Father. But because they were not worthy to hear such mysteries, therefore He gives them no answer, but on the contrary put a question to them.
Raban.: There are two reasons why the knowledge of truth (p. 724) should be kept back from those who ask; either when he who asks is unfit to receive, or from his hatred or contempt of the truth is unworthy to have that which he asks opened to him.
5128 (Mt 21,28-32)
Jerome: Thus much prefaced, the Lord brings forward a parable, to convict them of their irreligion, and shew them that the kingdom of God should be transferred to the Gentiles.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Those who are to be judged in this cause, He applies to as judges, that condemning themselves they might be shewn to be unworthy to be acquitted by any other. It is high confidence of the justness of a cause, that will entrust it to the decision of an adversary. But He veils the allusion to them in a parable, that they might not perceive that they were passing sentence upon themselves; "A certain man had two sons." Who is he but God, who created all men, who being by nature Lord of all, yet would rather be loved as a father, than feared as a Lord. The elder son was the Gentile people, the younger the Jews, since from the time of Noah there had been Gentiles. And he came to the (p. 725) first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. To day," i.e. during this age. He spoke with him, not face to face as man, but to his heart as God, instilling understanding through the senses. To work in the vineyard is to do righteousness; for to cultivate the whole thereof, I know not that any one man is sufficient.
Jerome: He speaks to the Gentile people first, through their knowledge of the law of nature; "Go and work in my vineyard;" i.e. "What you would not have done to you, that do not you to others." (Tb 4,16) He answers haughtily, "I will not."
Pseudo-Chrys.: For the Gentiles from the beginning leaving God and his righteousness, and going over to idols and sins, seem to make answer in their thoughts, We will not do the righteousness of God.
Jerome: But when, at the coming of the Saviour, the Gentile people, having done penitence, laboured in God's vineyard, and atoned by their labour for the obstinacy of their refusal, this is what is said, "But afterward he repented, and went." The second son is the Jewish people who made answer to Moses, "All that the Lord hath said unto us we will do." (Ex 24,3)
Pseudo-Chrys.: But afterwards turning their backs, they lied unto God, according to that in the Psalms, "The sons of the strangers have lied unto me." (Ps 18,44) This is what is said, "But he went not." The Lord accordingly asks "which of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first." See how they have first sentence upon themselves, saying, that the elder son, that is, the Gentile people, did the will of his father. For it is better not to promise righteousness before God, and to do it, than to promise, and to fail.
Origen: Whence we may gather, that in this parable the Lord spoke to such as promise little or nothing, but in their works shine forth; and against those who promise great things but do none of these things that they have promised.
Jerome: It should be known that in the correct copies it is read not "The last," but The first," that they might be condemned by their own sentence. But should we prefer to read, as some have it, "The last," the explanation is obvious, to say that the Jews understood the truth, but dissembled, and would not say what they thought; just as though they knew that the baptism of John was from heaven, they would not say so.
Pseudo-Chrys.: The Lord abundantly confirms their decision, (p. 726) whence it follows, "Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto yon, that the publicans and harlots shall go before you in the kingdom of God;" as much as to say, Not only the Gentiles are before you, but even the publicans and the harlots.
Raban.: Yet the kingdom of God may be understood of the Gentiles, or of the present Church, in which the Gentiles go before the Jews, because they were more ready to believe.
Origen: Notwithstanding, the Jews are not shut out that they should never enter into the kingdom of God; but, "when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have entered in, then all Israel shall be saved."
Pseudo-Chrys.: I suppose that the "publicans" here are to represent all sinful men, and "the harlots" all sinful women; because avarice is found the most prevailing vice among men, and fornication among women. For a woman's life is passed in idleness and seclusion, which are great temptations to that sin, while a man, constantly occupied in various active duties, falls readily into the snare of covetousness, and not so commonly into fornication, as the anxieties of manly cares preclude thoughts of pleasure, which engage rather the young and idle.
Then follows the reason of what He had said, "For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed Him not."
Raban.: John came preaching the way of righteousness, because he pointed to Christ, who is the fulfilling of the Law.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, because his venerable conversation smote the hearts of sinners, as it follows, "But the Publicans and harlots believed on him." Mark how the good life of the preacher gives its force to his preaching, so as to subdue unsubdued hearts. "And ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him;" as much as to say, They have done that which is more by believing on Him, ye have not even repented, which is less.
But in this exposition which we have set forth according to the mind of many interpreters, there seems to me something inconsistent. For if by the two sons are to be understood the Jews and Gentiles, as soon as the Priests had answered that it was the first son that did his father's will, then Christ should have concluded His parable with these words, Verily I say unto you, that the Gentiles shall go into the kingdom of God before you. But He says, "The Publicans and harlots," a class rather of Jews (p. 727) than of Gentiles. Unless this is to be taken as was said above; So much rather the Gentile people please God than you, that even the Publicans and harlots are more acceptable to Him than you.
Jerome: Whence others think that the parable does not relate to Gentiles and Jews, but simply to the righteous and to sinners. These by their evil deeds had rejected God's service, but after received from John the baptism of repentance; while the Pharisees who made a shew of righteousness, and boasted that they did the law of God, despising John's baptism, did not follow his precepts.
Pseudo-Chrys.: This He brings in because the Priests had asked not in order to learn, but to tempt Him. But of the common folk many had believed; and for that reason He brings forward the parable of the two sons, shewing them therein that the common sort, who from the first professed secular lives, were better than the Priests who from the first professed the service of God, inasmuch as the people at length turned repentant to God, but the Priests impenitent, never left off to sin against God. And the elder son represents the people; because the people is not for the sake of the Priests, but the Priests are for the sake of the people.
5133 (Mt 21,33-34)
Chrys., Hom, lxviii: The design of this further parable is to shew that their guilt was heinous, and unworthy to be forgiven.
Origen: The householder is God, who in some parables is represented as a man. As it were a father condescending to the infant lisp of his little child, in order to instruct him.
Pseudo-Chrys.: He is called man, by title, not by nature; in a kind of likeness, not in verity. For the Son knowing that by occasion of His human name He himself should be blasphemed as though he were mere man, spoke therefore of the Invisible God the Father as man; He who by nature is Lord of Angels and men, but by goodness their Father.
Jerome: He hath "planted" a vine of which Isaiah speaks, "The vine of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel." (Is 5,7) And "hedged it round about;" i.e. either the wall of the city, or the guardianship of Angels.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, by the hedge understand the protection of the holy fathers, who were set (p. 729) as a wall round the people of Israel.
Origen: Or, the hedge which God set round his people was His own Providence; and the winepress was the place of offerings.
Jerome: "A winepress," that is to say, An altar; or those winepresses after which the three Psalms, the 8th, the 80th, and the 83rd are entitled, that is to say, the martyrs.
(ed. note: Ps 8 Ps 81 Ps 84. Hebr. from, the wine press, and so the Vulgate Torcularia, as St. Jerome reads. Others consider it a musical instrument used at the vintage. St. Augustine takes it for an oil press, Enarr. in Ps 80, in Ps 83, of vines or olives. With St. Jerome he interprets it of martyrdoms in Ps 8 Ps 3 before he interprets it of Christian Churches, as does Athanasius in loc. Ps).
Hilary: Or, He set forth the Prophets as it were winepresses, into which an abundant measure of the Holy Spirit, as of new wine, might flow in a teeming stream.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, the winepress is the word of God, which tortures man when it contradicts his fleshly nature.
Jerome: "And built a tower therein," that is, the Temple, of which it is said by Micah, "And thou, O cloudy tower of the daughter of Sion."
Hilary: Or, The tower is the eminence of the Law, which ascended from earth to heaven, and from which, as from a watchtower, the coming of Christ might be spied. "And let it out to husbandmen."
Pseudo-Chrys.: When, that is, Priests and Levites were constituted by the Law, and undertook the direction of the people. And as an husbandman, though he offer to his Lord of his own stock, does not please him so much as by giving him the fruit of his own vineyard; so the Priest does not so much please God by his own righteousness, as by teaching the people of God holiness; for his own righteousness is but one, but that of the people manifold. "And went into a far country."
Jerome: Not a change of place, for God, by whom all things are filled, cannot be absent from any place; but He seems to be absent from the vineyard, that He may leave the vine-dressers a freedom of acting.
Chrys.: Or, it applies to His long-suffering, in that He did not always bring down immediate punishment on their sins.
Origen: Or, because God who had been with them in the cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, (marg. note: Ex 13,21) never after shewed Himself to them in like manner. In Isaiah the people of the Jews is called the vineyard, and the threats of the householder are against the vineyard; (marg. note: Is 5,7) but in the Gospel not the vineyard but (p. 730) the husbandmen are blamed.
For perchance in the Gospel the vineyard is the kingdom of God, that is, the doctrine which is contained in holy Scripture; and a man's blameless life is the fruit of the vineyard. And the letter of Scripture is the hedge set round the vineyard, that the fruits which are bid in it should not be seen by those who are without. The depth of the oracles of God is the winepress of the vineyard, into which such as have profited in the oracles of God pour out their studies like fruit.
The tower built therein is the word concerning God himself, and concerning Christ's dispensations. This vineyard He committed to husbandmen, that is, to the people that was before us, both priests and laity, and went into a far country, by His departure giving opportunity to the husbandmen.
The time of the vintage drawing near may be taken of individuals, and of nations. The first season of life is in infancy, when the vineyard has nought to shew, but that it has in it the vital power. As soon as it comes to be able to speak, then is the time of putting forth buds. And as the child's soul progresses, so also does the vineyard, that is, the word of God; and after such progress the vineyard brings forth the ripe fruit of love, joy, peace, and the like. Moreover to the nation who received the Law by Moses, the time of fruit draweth near.
Raban.: "The season of fruit," He says, not of rent-paying, because this stiff-necked nation brings forth no fruit.
Chrys., non occ., ap. Chrys.: He calls the Prophets servants, who as the Lord's Priests offer the fruits of the people, and the proofs of their obedience in their works. But they shewed their wickedness not only in refusing the fruits, but in having indignation against those that come to them, as it follows, "And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another."
Jerome: Beat them, as Jeremiah, killed them, as Isaiah, stoned them, as Naboth and Zacharias, whom they slew between the temple and the altar.
Pseudo-Chrys.: At each step of their wickedness the mercy of God was increased, and at each step of the Divine mercy the wickedness of the Jews increased; thus there was a strife between human wickedness and Divine goodness.
Hilary: These "more than the first" who were sent, denote that time, when, after the preaching of single Prophets, a great number was sent (p. 731) forth together.
Raban: Or, the first servants who were sent were the Lawgiver Moses himself, and Aaron the first Priest of God; whom, having beaten them with the scourge of their tongue, they sent away empty; by the other servants understand the company of the Prophets.
Hilary: By the Son sent at last, is denoted the advent of our Lord.
Chrys.: Wherefore then did He not send Him immediately? That from what they had done to the others they might accuse themselves, and putting away their madness they might reverence His Son when He came.
Pseudo-Chrys.: He sent Him not as the bearer of a sentence of punishment against the guilty, but of an offer of repentance; He sent Him to put them to shame, not to punish them.
Jerome: But when He says, "They will reverence my Son," He does not speak as in ignorance. For what is there that this householder (by whom in this place God is intended) knows not? But God is thus spoken of as being uncertain, in order that free-will may be reserved for man.
Chrys.: Or He speaks as declaring what ought to be; they ought to reverence Him; thus shewing that their sin was great, and void of all excuse.
Origen: Or we may suppose this fulfilled in the case of those Jews who, knowing Christ, believed in Him. But what follows, "But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir, come let us kill him, and let us seize on the inheritance," was fulfilled in those who saw Christ, and knew Him to be the Son of God, yet crucified Him.
Jerome: Let us enquire of Arrius and Eunomius. See here the Father is said not to know somewhat. Whatever answer they make for the Father, let them understand the same of the Son, when He says that He knows not the day of the consummation of all things. (marg. note: Mt 22,36)
Pseudo-Chrys.: But some say, that it was after His incarnation, that Christ was called a Son in right of His baptism like the other saints, whom the Lord refutes by this place, saying, "I will send my Son." Therefore when He thus meditated sending His Son after the Prophets, He must have been already His Son. Further, if He had been His Son in the same way as all the saints to whom the word of God was sent, He ought to have called the Prophets also His sons, as He calls Christ, or to call Christ (p. 732) His servant, as He calls the Prophets.
Raban.: By what they say, "This is the Son," He manifestly proves that the rulers of the Jews crucified the Son of God, not through ignorance, but through jealousy. For they understood that it was He to whom the Father speaks by the Prophet, "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance." (Ps 2,8) The inheritance given to the Son is the holy Church; an inheritance not left Him by His Father when dying, but wonderfully purchased by His own death.
Pseudo-Chrys.: After His entry into the Temple, and having cast out those who sold the animals for the sacrifices, then they took counsel to kill Him, "Come, let us kill him." For they reasoned among themselves, It will happen that the people hereby shall disuse the practice of sacrificing, which pertains to our gain, and shall be content to offer the sacrifice of righteousness, which pertains to the glory of God; and so the nation shall no more be our possession, but shall become God's. But if we shall kill Him, then there being none to seek the fruit of righteousness from the people, the practice of offering sacrifice shall continue, and so this people shall become our possession; as it follows, "And the inheritance shall be ours."
These are the usual thoughts of all worldly Priests, who take no thought how the people shall live without sin, but look to how much is offered in the Church, and esteem that the profit of their ministry.
Raban.: Or, The Jews endeavoured by putting Him to death to seize upon the inheritance, when they strove to overthrow the faith which is through Him, and to substitute their own righteousness which is by the Law, and therewith to imbue the Gentiles. It follows, "And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him."
Hilary: Christ was cast out of Jerusalem, as out of the vineyard, to His sentence of punishment.
Origen: Or, what He says, "And cast him out of the vineyard," seems to me to be this; As far as they were concerned they judged Him a stranger both to the vineyard, and the husbandmen. "When therefore the Lord of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?"
Jerome: The Lord asks them not as though He did not know what they would answer, but that they might be condemned by their own answer.
Pseudo-Chrys.: That their answer is true, comes (p. 733) not of any righteous judgment in them, but from the case itself; truth constrained them.
Origen: Like Caiaphas (marg. note: Jn 11,49) so did they, not from themselves, prophesy against themselves, that the oracles of God were to be taken from them, and given to the Gentiles, who could bring forth fruit in due season.
Gloss. ord.: Or, the Lord whom they killed, came immediately rising from the dead, and brought to an evil end those wicked husbandmen, and gave up His vineyard to other husbandmen, that is, to the Apostles.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., ii, 70: Mark does not give this as their answer, but relates that the Lord after His question put to them, made this answer to Himself. But it may be easily explained, that their words are subjoined in such a way as to shew that they spoke them, without putting in 'And they answered.' Or this answer is attributed to the Lord, because, what they said being true, might well be said to have been spoken by Him who is truth.
Chrys.: Or there is no contradiction, because both are right; they first made answer in these words, and then the Lord repeated them.
Aug.: This troubles us more, how it is that Luke not only does not relate this to have been their answer, but attributes to them a contrary answer. His words are, "And when they heard it they said, God forbid." (Lc 20,16) The only way that remains for understanding this is, therefore, that of the listening multitudes some answered as Matthew relates, and some as Luke.
And let it perplex no one that Matthew says that the Chief Priests and elders of the people came to the Lord, and that he connects the whole of this discourse in one down to this parable of the vineyard, without interposing any other speaker. For it may be supposed that He spoke all these things with the Chief Priests, but that Matthew for brevity's sake omitted what Luke mentions, namely, that this parable was spoken not to those only who asked Him concerning His authority, but to the populace, among whom were some who said, He shall destroy them, and give the vineyard to others.
And at the same time this saying is rightly thought to have been the Lord's, either for its truth, or for the unity of His members with their head. And there were also those who said, "God forbid," those namely, "who perceived that He spoke this parable against them."
Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise: Luke has given the answer of their lips, Matthew (p. 734) that of their hearts. For some made answer openly contradicting Him, and saying, "God forbid," but their consciences took it up with "He shall miserably destroy these wicked men." For so when a man is detected in any wickedness, he excuses himself in words, but his conscience within pleads guilty.
Chrys.: Or otherwise: the Lord proposed this parable to them with this intent, that not understanding it they should give sentence against themselves; as was done by Nathan to David. Again, when they perceived the meaning of the things that had been said against them, they said, "God forbid."
Raban: Morally; a vineyard has been let out to each of us to dress, when the mystery of baptism was given us, to be cultivated by action. Servants one, two, and three are sent us when Law, Psalm, and Prophecy are read, after whose instructions we are to work well. He that is sent is beaten and cast out when the word is contemned, or, which is worse, is blasphemed. He kills (as far as in him lies) the heir, who tramples under foot the Son, and does despite to the Spirit of grace. The wicked husbandman is destroyed, and the vineyard is given to another, when the gift of grace which the proud has contemned is given to the lowly.
Pseudo-Chrys.: When they seemed discontent, He brings forward Scripture testimony; as much as to say, If ye understood not My parable, at least acknowledge this Scripture.
Jerome: The same things are treated under various figures; whom above He called labourers and husbandmen, He now calls builders.
Chrys.: Christ is the stone, the builders are the Jewish teachers who rejected Christ, saying, "This man is not of God." (Jn 9,16)
Raban.: But despite of their displeasure, the same stone furnished the head stone of the corner, for out of both nations He has joined by faith in Him as many as He would.
Hilary: He is become the head of the corner, because He is the union of both sides between the Law and the Gentiles.
Chrys.: And that they might know that nothing that had been done was against God's will, He adds, "It is the Lord's doing."
Origen: That is, the stone is the gift of God to the whole building, and is wonderful in our eyes, who can discern it with the eyes of the mind.
Pseudo-Chrys.: As much as to say, How do ye not understand in what building that stone is to be set, not in yours, seeing it is rejected, but (p. 735) in another; but if the building is to be other, your building will be rejected.
Origen: By the kingdom of God, He means the mysteries of the kingdom of God, that is, the divine Scriptures, which the Lord committed, first to that former people who had the oracles of God, but secondly to the Gentiles who brought forth fruit. For the word of God is given to none but to him who brings fruit thereof, and the kingdom of God is given to none in whom sin reigns.
Whence came it then that it was given to them from whom it was afterwards taken away? Remember that whatever is given is given of free gift. To whom then He let out the vineyard, He let it out not as to elect already and believing; but to whom He gave it, He gave it with a sentence of election.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Christ is called A Stone, not only because of His strength, but because He mightily crushes His enemies; whence it follows, "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, and on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder."
Jerome: Whoso sinneth, yet believeth on Him, falls indeed upon a stone and is broken, yet is not altogether crushed, but is preserved to salvation through endurance. But on whomsoever it shall fall, that is, whomsoever this stone shall itself assault, and whosoever shall utterly deny Christ, it shall so crush him, that not a bone of him shall be left in which a drop of water could be taken up.
Pseudo-Chrys.: It is one thing to be broken, and another to be ground to powder. Of what is broken there remains something; but what is ground to powder is as it were converted into dust. And what falls upon a stone is not broken by any power of the stone, but because it fell heavily, either by reason of its weight, or of its fall from a great height So a Christian in sinning, perishes, but not to the utmost that Christ can destroy; but only so far as he destroys himself, either by the greatness of his sin, or by his exalted rank. But the unbelievers perish to the utmost that Christ can destroy them.
Chrys.: Or, He here points out their twofold destruction; first in their stumbling and being offended at Him, signified in that, "Whosoever shall fall upon this stone;" the other in the captivity that should come upon them, signified by that, "But upon whomsoever it shall fall."
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i. 30: Or, Those (p. 736) that fall upon Him, are those that despise and afflict Him. These do not perish utterly, but are broken so that they walk not upright. But upon these He shall fall when He shall come from above in judgment with a punishment of destruction, and thence He says, "Shall grind them to powder," because "the wicked are like the dust which the wind scattereth abroad on the face of the earth." (Ps 1,4)
Golden Chain 5117