Golden Chain 5701
5701 (Mt 27,1-5)
(p. 931) Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 7: The Evangelist had above brought down his history, of what was done to the Lord as far as early morning; he then turned back to relate Peter's denial, after which he returned to the morning to continue the course of events,
"When the morning was come, &c."
Origen: They supposed that by His death they should crush His doctrine, and the belief in Him of those who believed Him to be the Son of God. With such purpose against Him they bound Jesus, Who looses them that are bound. [marg. note: see Is 61,1]
Jerome: Observe the evil zeal of the Chief Priests; they watched the whole night with a view to this murder. And they gave Him up to Pilate bound, for such was their practice to send bound to the judge any whom they had sentenced to death.
Raban.: (p. 932) Though it should be observed that they did not now first bind Him, but before, when they first laid hands upon Him in the garden, as John relates. (Jn 18,12)
Chrys., Hom. lxxxiv: They did not put Him to death in secret, because they sought to destroy His reputation, and the wonder with which He was regarded by many. For this reason they were minded to put Him to death openly before all, and therefore they led Him to the governor.
Jerome: Judas, when he saw that the Lord was condemned to death, returned the money to the Priests, as though it had been in his power to change the minds of His persecutors.
Origen: Let the propounders of those fables concerning intrinsically evil natures (ed. note: vid. S. Basil. Reg. Brev. 84.) answer me here, whence Judas came to the acknowledgment of his sin, "I have sinned in that I have betrayed righteous blood," except through the good mind originally implanted in him, and that seed of virtue which is sown in every rational soul? But Judas did not cherish this, and so fell into this sin.
But if ever any man was made of a nature that was to perish, Judas was yet more of such a nature. If indeed he had done this after Christ's resurrection, it might have been said, that the power of the resurrection brought him to repentance. But he repented when he saw Christ delivered up to Pilate, perhaps remembering the things Jesus had so often spoken of His resurrection.
Or, perhaps Satan who had "entered into him" (Jn 13,27) continued with him till Jesus was given up to Pilate, and then, having accomplished his purpose, departed from him; whereupon be repented.
But how could Judas know that He was condemned, for He had not yet been examined by Pilate? One may perhaps say, that he foreboded the event in his own mind from the very first, when he saw Him delivered up. Another may explain the words, when "he saw that he was condemned," of Judas himself, that be then perceived his evil case, and saw that he himself was condemned.
Leo, Serm., 52, 5: When he says, "I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood," he persists in his wicked treachery, seeing that amid the last struggles of death he believed not Jesus to be the Son of God, but merely man of our rank; for had he not thus denied His omnipotence, he would have obtained His mercy.
Chrys.: Observe that he repents only when his (p. 933) sin is finished and complete; for so the Devil suffers not those who are not watchful to see the evil before they bring it to an end.
Remig.: "But they said, What is that to us?" that is to say, What is it to us that He is righteous? "See thou to it," i.e. to thy own deed what will come of it. Though some would read these in one (marg. note: Quid ad nos tu videris?), What must we think of you, when you confess that the man whom yourself have betrayed is innocent?
Origen: But when the Devil leave any one, he watches his time for return, and having taken it, he leads him into a second sin, and then watches for opportunity for a third deceit. So the man who had married his father's wife afterwards repented him of this sin, (1Co 5,1) but again the Devil resolved so to augment this very sorrow of repentance, that his sorrow being made too abundant might swallow up the sorrower.
Something like this took place in Judas, who after his repentance did not preserve his own heart, but received that more abundant sorrow supplied to him by the Devil, who sought to swallow him up, as it follows, "And he went out, and hanged himself." But had he desired and looked for place and time for repentance, he would perhaps have found Him who has said, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." (Ezek 33:11)
Or, perhaps, he desired to die before his Master on His way to death, and to meet Him with a disembodied spirit, that by confession and deprecation he might obtain mercy; and did not see that it is not fitting that a servant of God should dismiss himself from life, but should wait God's sentence.
Raban.: He "hung himself," to shew that he was hateful to both heaven and earth.
Pseudo-Aug., Hil. Quaest. V. et N. Test. q. 94: Since the Chief Priests were employed about the murder of the Lord from the morning to the ninth hour, how is this proved that before the crucifixion Judas returned them the money he had received, and said to them in the temple, "I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood?"
Whereas it is manifest that the Chief Priests and Elders were never in the temple before the Lord's crucifixion, seeing that when He was hanging on the Cross they were there to insult Him. Nor indeed can this be proved hence, because it is related before the Lord's Passion, for many things which were manifestly done before, are related after, that, and the reverse. It might have been done after the ninth hour, when Judas, seeing the (p. 934) Saviour dead and the veil of the temple rent, the earthquake, the bursting of the rocks, and the elements terrified, was seized with fear and sorrow thereupon. But after the ninth hour the Chief Priests and Elders were occupied, as I suppose, in the celebration of the Passover; and on the Sabbath, the Law would not have allowed him to bring money. Therefore it is to me as yet unproved on what day or at what time Judas ended his life by hanging.
5706 (Mt 27,6-10)
Chrys.: The Chief Priests knowing that they had purchased a murder were condemned by their own conscience; they said, "It is the price of blood."
Jerome: Truly straining out the gnat, and swallowing the camel; for if they would not put the money into the treasury, because it was the price of blood, why did they shed the blood at all?
Origen: They thought it meet to spend upon the dead that money which was the price of blood. But as there are differences even in burial places, they used the price of Jesus' blood in the purchase of some potter's field, where foreigners might be buried, not as they desired in the sepulchres of their fathers.
Aug., App. Serm., 80, 1: It was brought about, I conceive, by God's providence, that the Saviour's price should not minister means of excess to sinners, but repose to foreigners, that thence Christ might both redeem the living by the shedding of His blood, and (p. 935) harbour the dead by the price of His passion. Therefore with the price of the Lord's blood the potter's field is purchased. We read in Scripture that the salvation of the whole human race has been purchased by the Saviour's blood. This field then is the whole world. The potter who is the Lord of the soil, is He who has formed of clay the vessels of our bodies. This potter's field then was purchased by Christ's blood, and to strangers who without country or home wander over the whole world, repose is provided by Christ's blood.
These foreigners are the more devout Christians, who have renounced the world, and have no possession in it, and so repose in Christ's blood; for the burial of Christ is nothing but the repose of a Christian; for as the Apostle says, "We are buried with him by baptism into death." (Rm 6,4) We are in this life then as foreigners.
Jerome: Also we, who were strangers to the Law and the Prophets, have profited by the perverse temper of the Jews to obtain salvation for ourselves.
Origen: Or, the "foreigners" are they who to the end are aliens from God, for the righteous are buried with Christ in a new tomb hewn out in the rock. But they who are aliens from God, even to the end, are buried in the field of a potter, a worker in clay, which being bought by the price of blood, is called the field of blood.
Gloss, non occ.: "To this day" means to the time when the Evangelist was then writing. He then confirms the event by the testimony of the Prophet; "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the Prophet," &c.
Jerome: This is not found at all in Hieremias; but in Zacharias (marg. note: Za 11,13), who is the last but one of the twelve Prophets, something like it is told, and though the sense is not very different, yet the arrangement and the words are different.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 7: But if any one thinks this lowers the historian's credit, first let him know that not all the copies of the Gospels have the name Hieremias, but some simply "by the Prophet."
But I do not like this defence, because the more, and the more ancient, copies have Hieremias, and there could be no reason for adding the name, and thus making an error. But its erasure is well accounted for by the hardihood of ignorance having heard the foregoing objection urged. It might be then, that the name Hieremias occurred to the mind of Matthew as he wrote, instead of the name Zacharias, as so (p. 936) often happens; and that be would have straightway corrected it, when pointed out to him by such as read this while he yet lived in the flesh, had he not thought that his memory, being guided by the Holy Spirit, would not thus have called up to him one name instead of another, had not the Lord determined that it should thus be written.
And why He should have so determined, the first reason is, that it would convey the wonderful consent of the Prophets, who all spake by one Spirit, which is much greater than if all the words of all the Prophets had been uttered through the mouth of one man; so that we receive without doubt whatever the Holy Spirit spake through them, each word belongs to all in common, and the whole is the utterance of each. Suppose it to happen at this day, that in repeating another's words one should mention not the speaker's name, but that of some other person, who however was the other's greater friend, and then immediately recollecting himself should correct himself, he might yet add, Yet am I right, if you only think of the close unanimity that exists between the two. How much more is this to be observed of the holy Prophets!
There is a second reason why the name Hieremias should be suffered to remain in this quotation from Zacharias, or rather why it should have been suggested by the Holy Spirit. It is said in Hieremias, that he bought a field of his brother's son, and gave him silver for it, (Jr 32,9) though not indeed the sum stated in Zacharias, thirty pieces of silver. That the Evangelist has here adapted the thirty pieces of silver in Zacharias to this transaction in the Lord's history, is plain; but he may also wish to convey that what Hieremias speaks of the field is mystically alluded to here, and therefore he puts not the name of Zacharias who spoke of the thirty pieces of silver, but of Hieremias who spoke of the purchase of the field. So that in reading the Gospel and finding the name of Hieremias, but not finding there the passage respecting the thirty pieces of silver, but the account of the purchase of the field, the reader might be induced to compare the two together, and so extract from them the sense of the prophecy, how far it refers to what was now accomplished in the Lord.
For what Matthew adds to the prophecy, "Whom they of the children of Israel (p. 937) did value, and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me," this, "as the Lord appointed me," is found neither in Zacharias nor Hieremias. It must then be taken in the person of the Evangelist as inserted with a mystic meaning, that he had learned by revelation that the prophecy referred to this matter of the price for which Christ was betrayed.
Jerome, Hieron. ad Pam. Ep. 57, 5: Far be it then from a follower of Christ to suppose him guilty of falsehood, whereas his business was not to pry into words and syllables, but to lay down the staple of doctrine.
Aug., Hieron. in loc.: I have lately read in a Hebrew book given me by a Hebrew of the Nazarene sect, an apocryphal Hieremias, in which I find the very words here quoted. After all, I am rather inclined to think that the passage was taken by Matthew out of Zacharias, in the usual manner of the Apostles and Evangelists when they quote from the Old Testament, neglecting the words, and attending only to the sense.
5711 (Mt 27,11-14)
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 7: Matthew, having finished his digression concerning the traitor Judas, returns to the course of his narrative saying, "Jesus stood before the governor."
Origen: Mark how He that is ordained by His Father to be the Judge of the whole creation, humbled Himself, and was content to stand before the judge of the land of Judaea, and to be asked by Pilate either in mockery or doubt, "Art thou the King of the Jews?"
Chrys., Hom. lxxxvi: Pilate asked Christ that which His enemies were continually casting in His teeth, for because they knew that Pilate cared not for matters of their (p. 938) Law, they had recourse to a public charge.
Origen: Or, Pilate spoke this affirmatively, as he afterwards wrote in the inscription, "The King of the Jews." By answering to the Chief Priest, "Thou hast said," He indirectly reproved his doubts, but now He turns Pilate's speech into an affirmative, "Jesus saith unto him, Thou sayest it."
Chrys.: He acknowledges Himself to be a King, but a heavenly one, as it is more expressly said in another Gospel, "My kingdom is not of this world (Jn 18,36), so that neither the Jews nor Pilate were excusable for insisting on this accusation.
Hilary: Or, when asked by the High Priest whether He were Jesus the Christ, He answered, "Thou hast said," because He had ever maintained out of the Law that Christ should come, but to Pilate who was ignorant of the Law, and asks if He were the King of the Jews, He answers, "Thou sayest," because the salvation of the Gentiles is through faith of that present confession.
Jerome: But observe, that to Pilate who asked the question unwillingly He did answer somewhat; but to the Chief Priests and Priests He refused to answer, judging them unworthy of a word; "And when he was accused by the Chief Priests and Elders he answered nothing."
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 8: Luke explains what were the accusations alleged against Him, "And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King." (Lc 23,2)
But it is of no consequence to the truth in what order they relate the history, or that one omits what another inserts.
Origen: Neither then nor now did Jesus make any reply to their accusations, for the word of God was not sent to them, as it was formerly to the Prophets. Neither was Pilate worthy of an answer, as be had no fixed or abiding opinion of Christ, but veered about to contradictory suppositions.
"Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?"
Jerome: Thus though it is a Gentile who sentences Jesus, he lays the cause of His condemnation upon the Jews.
Chrys.: He said this out of a wish to release Him, if He should justify Himself in His answer. But the Jews, though they had so many practical proofs of His power, His meekness and humbleness, were yet enraged against Him, and urged on by a perverted judgment. Wherefore He answers nothing, or if He makes any (p. 939) answer He says little, that total silence might not be construed into obstinacy.
Jerome: Or, Jesus would not make any answer, lest if He cleared Himself the governor should have let Him go, and the benefit of His cross should have been deferred.
Origen: "The governor marvelled" at His endurance, as knowing that he had power to condemn Him, He yet continued in a peaceful, placid, and immovable prudence and gravity. He marvelled "greatly," for it seemed to him a great miracle that Christ, produced before a criminal tribunal, stood thus fearless of death, which all men think so terrible.
5715 (Mt 27,15-26)
(p. 940) Chrys.: Because Christ had answered nothing to the accusations of the Jews, by which Pilate could acquit Him of what was alleged against Him, he contrives other means of saving Him.
"Now on the feast day the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner whom they would."
Origen: Thus do the Gentiles shew favours to those whom they subject to themselves, until their yoke is riveted. Yet did this practice obtain also among the Jews, Saul did not put Jonathan to death, because all the people sought his life. (marg. note: 1S 14)
Chrys.: And he sought to rescue Christ by means of this practice, that the Jews might not have the shadow of an excuse left them. A convicted murderer is put in comparison with Christ, Barabbas, whom he calls not merely a robber, but a notable one, that is, renowned for crime.
Jerome: In the Gospel entitled 'according to the Hebrews,' Barabbas is interpreted, 'The son of their master,' who had been condemned for sedition and murder. Pilate gives them the choice between Jesus and the robber, not doubting but that Jesus would be the rather chosen.
Chrys.: "Whom will ye that I release unto you?" &c. As much as to say, If ye will not let Him go as innocent, at least, yield Him, as convicted, to this holy day. For if you would have released one of whose guilt there was no doubt, much more should you do so in doubtful cases. Observe how circumstances are reversed. It is the populace who are wont to petition. [p. 941] for the condemned, and the prince to grant, but here it is the reverse, the prince asks of the people, and renders them thereby more violent.
Gloss., non occ.: The Evangelist adds the reason why Pilate sought to deliver Christ, "For he knew that for envy they had delivered him."
Remig.: John explains what their envy was, when he says, "Behold, the world is gone after him;" (Jn 12,19) and, "If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him." (Jn 11,48) Observe also that in place of what Matthew says, "Jesus, who is called Christ," Mark says, "Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" (Mc 15,9) For the kings of the Jews alone were anointed, and from that anointing were called Christs.
Chrys.: Then is added something else which alone was enough to deter all from putting Him to death; "When he was set on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man." For joined with the proof afforded by the events themselves, a dream was no light confirmation.
Raban.: It is to be noted, that the bench (tribunal) is the seat of the judge, the throne (solium) of the king, the chair (cathedra) of the master. In visions and dreams the wife of a Gentile understood what the Jews when awake would neither believe nor understand.
Jerome: Observe also that visions are often vouchsafed by God to the Gentiles, and that the confession of Pilate and his wife that the Lord was innocent is a testimony of the Gentile people.
Chrys.: But why did Pilate himself not see this vision? Because his wife was more worthy; or because if Pilate had seen it, he would not have had equal credit, or perhaps would not have told it; wherefore it is provided by God that his wife should see it, and thus it be made manifest to all. And she not merely sees it, but "suffers many things because of him," so that sympathy with his wife would make the husband more slack to put Him to death. And the time agreed well, for it was the same night that she saw it.
Chrys., Hom. iii, in Caen. Dom.: Thus then the judge terrified through his wife, and that he might not consent in the judgment to the accusation of the Jews, himself endured judgment in the affliction of his wife; the judge is judged, and tortured before he tortures.
Raban.: Or otherwise; The devil now at last understanding that he should lose his trophies through Christ, as be had at the first brought in (p. 942) death by a woman, so by a woman he would deliver Christ out of the hands of His enemies, lest through His death he should lose the sovereignty of death.
Chrys.: But none of the foregoing things moved Christ's enemies, because envy had altogether blinded them, and of their own wickedness they corrupt the people, for they "persuaded the people that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus."
Origen: Thus it is plainly seen how the Jewish people is moved by its elders and the doctors of the Jewish system, and stirred up against Jesus to destroy Him.
Gloss., non occ.: Pilate is said to make this answer, "Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?" either to the message of his wife, or the petition of the people, with whom it was a custom to ask such release on the feast-day.
Origen: But the populace, like wild beasts that rage the open plains, would have Barabbas released to them. For this people had seditions, murders, robberies, practised by some of their own nation in act, and nourished by all of them who believe not in Jesus, inwardly in their mind. Where Jesus is not, there are strifes and fightings; where He is, there is peace and all good things. All those who are like the Jews either in doctrine or life desire Barabbas to be loosed to them; for whoso does evil, Barabbas is loosed in his body, and Jesus bound; but he that does good has Christ loosed, and Barabbas bound.
Pilate sought to strike them with shame for so great injustice, "What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ?" And not that only, but desiring to fill up the measure of their guilt. But neither do they blush that Pilate confessed Jesus to be the Christ, nor set any bounds to their impiety, They all say unto him, "Let him be crucified." Thus they multiplied the sum of their wickedness, not only asking the life of a murderer, but the death of a righteous man, and that the shameful death of the cross.
Raban.: Those who were crucified being suspended on a cross, by nails driven into the wood through their hands and feet, perished by a lingering death, and lived long on the cross, not that they sought longer life, but that death was deferred to prolong their sufferings. The Jews indeed contrived this as the worst of deaths, but it had been chosen by the Lord without their privity, thereafter to place upon the foreheads of the faithful the same cross as a (p. 943) trophy of His victory over the Devil.
Jerome: Yet even after this answer of theirs, Pilate did not at once assent, but in accordance with his wife's suggestion, "Have thou nothing to do with that just man," he answered, "Why, what evil hath he done?" This speech of Pilate's acquits Jesus. "But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified;" that it might be fulfilled which is said in the Psalm, "Many dogs have compassed me, the congregation of the wicked hath inclosed me;" (Ps 22,16) and also that of Hieremias, "Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest, they have given forth their voice against me." (Jr 12,8)
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 8: Pilate many times pleaded with the Jews, desiring that Jesus might be released, which Matthew witnesses in very few words, when he says, "Pilate seeing that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made." He would not have spoken thus, if Pilate had not striven much, though how many efforts he made to release Jesus he does not mention.
Remig.: It was customary among the ancients, when one would refuse to participate in any crime, to take water and wash his hands before the people.
Jerome: Pilate took water in accordance with that, "I Will wash my hands in innocency," (Ps 26,6) in a manner testifying and saying, I indeed have sought to deliver this innocent man, but since a tumult is rising, and the charge of treason to Caesar is urged against me, I am innocent of the blood of this just man. The judge then who is thus compelled to give sentence against the Lord, does not convict the accused, but the accusers, pronouncing innocent Him who is to be crucified.
"See ye to it," as though be had said, I am the law's minister, it is your voice that has shed this blood. Then answered all the people and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." This imprecation rests at the present day upon the Jews, the Lord's blood is not removed from them.
Chrys.: Observe here the infatuation of the Jews; their headlong haste, and destructive passions will not let them see what they ought to see, and they curse themselves, saying, "His blood be upon us," and even entail the curse upon their children. Yet a merciful God did not ratify this sentence, but accepted such of them and of their children as repented; for Paul was of them, and many thousands of those who in Jerusalem believed.
Leo, Serm., 59, 2: The impiety of the Jews then (p. 944) exceeded the fault of Pilate; but he was not guiltless, seeing he resigned his own jurisdiction, and acquiesced in the injustice of others.
Jerome: It should be known that Pilate administered the Roman law, which enacted that every one who was crucified should first be scourged. Jesus then is given up to the soldiers to be beaten, and they tore with whips that most holy body and capacious bosom of God.
Chrys., Hom. iii, in Caena Dom.: See the Lord is made ready for the scourge, see now it descends upon Him! That sacred skin is torn by the fury of the rods; the cruel might of repeated blows lacerates His shoulders. Ah me! God is stretched out before man, and He, in whom not one trace of sin can be discerned, suffers punishment as a malefactor.
Jerome: This was done that we might be delivered from those stripes of which it is said, "Many stripes shall be to the wicked." (Ps 32,10) Also in the washing of Pilate's hands all the works of the Gentiles are cleansed, and we are acquitted of all share in the impiety of the Jews.
Hilary: At the desire of the Priests the populace chose Barabbas, which is interpreted 'the son of a Father,' thus shadowing forth the unbelief to come when Antichrist the son of sin should be preferred to Christ.
Raban.: Barabbas also, who headed a sedition among the people, is released to the Jews, that is the Devil, who to this day reigns among them, so that they cannot have peace.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 9: After the Lord's trial comes His Passion, which (p. 945) thus begins, "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall," &c.
Jerome: He had been styled King of the Jews, and the Scribes and Priests had brought this charge against Him, that He claimed sovereignty over the Jewish nation; hence this mockery of the soldiers, taking away His own garments, they put on Him a scarlet cloak to represent that purple fringe which kings of old used to wear, for the diadem they put on Him a crown of thorns, and for the regal sceptre give Him a reed, and perform adoration to Him as to a king.
Aug.: Hence we understand what Mark means by "clothed him with purple;" (Mc 15,17) instead of the royal purple, this scarlet cloak was used in mockery; and there is a shade of purple which is very like scarlet. Or it may be, that Mark spoke of the purple which the cloak contained, though its colour was scarlet.
Chrys., Hom. lxxxvii: What should we henceforth care if any one insults us, after Christ has thus suffered? The utmost that cruel outrage could do was put in practice against Christ; and not one member only, but His whole body suffered injuries; His head from the crown, the reed, and the buffetings; His face which was spit upon; His cheeks which they smote with the palms of their hands; His whole body from the scourging, the stripping to put on the cloak, and the mockery of homage; His hands from the reed which they put into them in mimicry of a sceptre; as though they were afraid of omitting aught of indignity.
Aug.: But Matthew seems to introduce this here as recollected from above, not that it was done at the time Pilate gave Him up for crucifixion. For John puts it before He is given up by Pilate.
Jerome: All these things we may understand mystically. For as Caiaphas said that "it is expedient that one man should die for the people," (Jn 11,50) not knowing what he said, so these, in all they did, furnished sacraments to us who believe, though they did them with other intention. In the scarlet robe He bears the bloody works of the Gentiles; by the crown of thorns He takes away the ancient curse; with the reed He destroys poisonous animals; or He held the reed in His hand wherewith to write down the sacrilege of the Jews.
Hilary: Or otherwise; The Lord having taken upon Him all the infirmities of our body, is then covered with the (p. 946) scarlet coloured blood of all the martyrs, to whom is due the kingdom with Him; He is crowned with thorns, that is, with the sins of the Gentiles who once pierced Him, for there is a prick in thorns of which is woven the crown of victory for Christ. In the reed, He takes into His hand and supports the weakness and frailty of the Gentiles; and His head is smitten therewith that the weakness of the Gentiles sustained by Christ's hand may rest on God the Father, who is His head.
Origen: Or, The reed was a mystery signifying that before we believed we trusted in that reed of Egypt, or Babylon, or of some other kingdom opposed to God, which He took that He might triumph over it with the wood of the cross. With this reed they smite the head of Christ, because this kingdom ever beats against God the Father, who is the head of the Saviour.
Remig.: Or otherwise, By the scarlet robe is denoted the Lord's flesh, which is spoken of as red by reason of shedding of His blood; by the crown of thorns His taking upon Him our sins, because He appeared "in the likeness of sinful flesh." (Rm 8,3)
Raban.: They smite the head of Christ with a reed, who speak against His divinity, and endeavour to maintain their error by the authority of Holy Scripture, which is written by a reed. They spit upon His face who reject in abominable words the presence of His grace, and deny that Jesus is come in the flesh. And they mock Him with adoration who believe on Him, but despise Him with perverse works.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., ii, in fin: That they took from off the Lord in His passion His own garment, and put on Him a coloured robe, denotes those heretics who said that He had a shadowy, and not a real body.
5731 (Mt 27,31-34)
(p. 947) Gloss, non occ.: After the Evangelist had narrated what concerned the mocking of Christ, he proceeds to His crucifixion.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 9: This is to be understood to have been done at the end of all when He was led off to crucifixion after Pilate had delivered Him up to the Jews.
Jerome: It is to be noted, that when Jesus is scourged and spit upon, He has not on His own garments, but those which He took for our sins; but when He is crucified, and the show of His mockery is completed, then He takes again His former garments, and His own dress, and immediately the elements are shaken, and the creature gives testimony to the Creator.
Origen: Of the cloak it is mentioned that they took it off Him, but of the crown of thorns the Evangelists have not spoken, so that there are now no longer those ancient thorns of ours, since Jesus has taken them from us upon HiS revered head.
Chrys., Hom. de Cruc. et Lat., ii: The Lord would not suffer under a roof, or in the Jewish Temple, that you should not suppose that He was offered for that people alone; but without the city, without the walls, that you might know that the sacrifice was common, that it was the offering of the whole earth, that the purification was general.
Jerome: Let none think that John's narrative contradicts this place of the Evangelist. John says that the Lord went forth from the praetorium bearing His cross; Matthew tells, that they found a man of Cyrene upon whom they laid Jesus' cross. We must suppose that as Jesus went out of the praetorium, He was bearing His cross, and that afterwards they met Simon, whom they compelled to bear it.
Origen: Or, as they went out, they laid hold of Simon, but when they drew near to the place in which they would crucify Him, they laid the cross upon Him that He might bear it. Simon obtained not this office by chance, but was brought to the spot by God's providence, that he might be found worthy of mention in the Scriptures of the Gospel, and of the ministry of the cross of Christ. And it was not only meet that the Saviour should carry His cross, but meet also that we should take part therein, filling a carriage so beneficial to us. Yet would it not have so profited us to take it on us, as we have profited by His taking it upon Himself. (marg. note: )
Jerome: Figuratively, the nations take up the cross, and the foreigner by obedience bears the ignominy of the Saviour. (p. 948)
Hilary: For a Jew was not worthy to bear Christ's cross, but it was reserved for the faith of the Gentiles both to take the cross, and to suffer with Him.
Remig.: For this Simon was not a man of Jerusalem, but a foreigner, and denizen, being a Cyrenean; Cyrene is a town of Lybia. Simon is interpreted 'obedient,' and a Cyrenean 'an heir;' whence he well denotes the people of the Gentiles, which was strange to the testaments of God, but by believing became a fellow-citizen of the saints, of the household, and an heir of God.
Greg., Hom. in. Ev., xxxii, 3: Or otherwise; By Simon who bears the burden of the Lord's cross are denoted those who are abstinent and proud; these by their abstinence afflict their flesh, but seek not within the fruit of abstinence. Thus Simon bears the cross, but does not die thereon, as these afflict the body, but in desire of vain-glory live to the world.
Raban.: "Golgotha" is a Syriac word, and is interpreted Calvary.
Jerome: (ed. note, b: He probably refers to an anonymous disputant, of whom he speaks more at length in his Commentary on Ephesians 5, 14; but a tradition to the same effect is mentioned by Origen, whose words, as preserved in a MS. Catena quoted by Ruaeus, are, "A tradition has come down to us, preserved by the Hebrews, that the body of Adam is buried in Calvary, so that as in Adam all die, so in Christ may all be made alive." And to the same effect Epiphanius cont. Tatian, and the Pseudo-Cyprian. 'De Resur. Christi.')
I have heard Calvary expounded as the spot in which Adam was buried, as though it had been so called from the head of the old man being buried there. A plausible interpretation, and agreeable to the ears of the people, yet not a true one. Without the city outside the gate are the places where criminals are executed, and these have got the name of Calvary, that is, of the beheaded. And Jesus was crucified there, that where the plot of criminals had been, there might be set up the flag of martyrdom. But Adam was buried near Ebron and Arbee, as we read in the volume of Jesus the son of Nave. (ed. note: Josh. 14, 15. in the Vulgate, "Adam maximus ibi inter Enacim situs est;" departing from both the Heb. and LXX.)
Hilary: Such is the place of the cross, set up in the centre of the earth, that it might be equally free to all nations to attain the knowledge of God.
Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 11: "And they gave him to drink wine mingled with gall." Mark says, "mingled with myrrh." (Mc 16,23) Matthew put "gall" to express bitterness, but wine mingled with myrrh is very bitter; though indeed it might be, that gall together (p. 949) with myrrh would make the most bitter.
Jerome: The bitter vine makes bitter wine; this they gave the Lord Jesus to drink, that that might be fulfilled which was written, "They gave me also gall for my meat." (Ps 69,12) And God addresses Jerusalem, "I had planted there a true vine, how art thou turned into the bitterness of a strange vine?" (Jr 2,21)
Aug.: "And when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink." That Mark says, "But he received it not," we understand to mean that He would not receive it to drink thereof. For that He tasted it Matthew bears witness; so that Matthew's, "He could not drink thereof," means exactly the same as Mark's, "He received it not;" only Mark does not mention His tasting it.
That He tasted but would not drink of it signifies that He tasted the bitterness of death for us, but rose again the third day.
Hilary: Or, He therefore refused the "wine mingled with gall, because the bitterness of sin is not mingled with the incorruption of eternal glory.
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