Golden Chain 9826
9826 Lc 8,26-39
CYRIL; The Savior, as He sailed with His disciples, came to a port, as it is said, And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
TITUS BOST. Many accurate copies have neither "Gerazenes" nor "Gadarenes," but "Gergezenes." For Gadara is a city in Judea, but neither lake nor sea is found at it, and Geraza is a city of Arabia, having neither lake nor sea near. But Gergeza, from which the Gergezenes are called, is an ancient city near the lake of Tiberias, above which is a rock hanging over the lake, into which they say the swine were dashed down by the devils. But since Gadara and Geraza border upon the land of the Gergezenes, it is probable that the swine were led from thence to their parts.
THEOPHYL; For Geraza is a famous city of Arabia, on the other side of the Jordan, close to the mountain of Galaad, which was possessed by the tribe of Manasseh, and not far from the lake of Tiberias, into which the swine were cast headlong.
CHRYS. But as soon as our Lord had departed from the sea, He meets with another more awful wonder. For the demoniac, like an evil slave, when he sees Him confirms his bondage, as it follows, And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, &c.
AUG. Whereas Matthew says, that there were two possessed, but Mark and Luke mention only one; you must understand one of them to be a more distinguished and famous person, for whom that neighborhood was chiefly distressed, and in whose restoration they were greatly interested. Wishing to signify this, the two Evangelists thought right to mention him alone, concerning whom the report of this miracle had been most extensively noised abroad.
CHRYS. Or, Luke selected from the two the one who was most savage. Hence he gives the most melancholy account of his calamity, adding, And he wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. But the evil spirits visit the tombs of the dead, to instill into men that dangerous notion, that the souls of the dead become evil spirits.
CYRIL; Now his going naked among the tombs of the dead was a mark of demoniacal wildness. But God permits some in His providence to become subject to evil spirits, that we may ascertain through them of what hat kind the evil spirits are towards us, in order that we may refuse to be made subject to them, and so by the suffering of one many may be edified.
CHRYS. But because the people acknowledged Him to be man, the devils came publishing His divinity, which even the sea had proclaimed by its calmness. Hence it follows, When he saw Jesus he fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, &c.
CYRIL; Mark here the combination of fear with boldness and great desperation, for it is a sign of devilish despair to spear; out boldly, What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God most high? but of fear when they pray, I beseech you not to cast me out. But if you know Him to be the Son of God most high, you confess Him to be the God of heaven and earth, and of all things that are contained in them. How then cost you make use not of your own but His words, saying, What have I to do with you? But what earthly prince will altogether endure to have his subjects tormented by barbarians?
Hence it follows, For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of him. And He shows the necessity of the command, adding, For oftentimes it had caught him, &c.
CHRYS. Therefore since no one could hold the possessed, Christ goes to him and addresses him. It follows, And Jesus asked him, saying, What is your name?
THEOPHYL; He inquires not his name as ignorant of it, but that when the demoniac had confessed the plague which he endured, the power of the Healer might shine forth more welcome to him. But the priests also of our time, who through the grace of exorcism are able to cast out devils, are wont to say that the sufferers can no otherwise be cured than by openly telling in confession every thing which either waking or sleeping they have endured from the unclean spirits, and above all when they imagine that the devils seek and obtain the possession of the human body. So also here the confession is added, And he said, Legion, because many devils were entered into him.
GREG. NYSS. Certain evil spirits imitating the heavenly hosts and the legions of angels say that they are legions. As also their prince says that he will exalt his throne above the stars that he may be like to the Most High.
CHRYS. But when the Lord had overcome the evil spirits which disturbed His creatures, they thought that because of the enormity of those things which had been done, He would not wait the time of their punishment, and therefore since they could not deny their guilt, they entreat that they may not quickly undergo the penalty. As it follows, And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
THEOPHYL Which indeed the devils demand, wishing yet longer to mix with mankind.
CYRIL; And hence it is plain that the rebel hosts against the Divine Majesty were thrust down to hell by the unspeakable power of the Savior.
MAXIM. Now the Lord ordains for each class of sinners an appropriate punishment. The fire of Hell unquenchable for fleshly burnings, gnashing of teeth for wanton mirth, intolerable thirst for pleasure and revelry, the worm that dies not for a crooked and malignant heart, everlasting darkness for ignorance and deceit, the bottomless pit for pride. Hence the deep is assigned to the devils as to the proud, it follows, And there was there an herd of swine, &c.
AUG. The words of Mark that there was a herd of swine nigh to the mountains, and of Luke, on the mountains, do not differ from one another. For the herd of swine was so large, that they might be part on the mountain, part near it. For there were two thousand swine, as Mark has stated.
AMBROSE; But the devils could not endure the clearness of the light of heaven, as those who have weak eyes can not bear the sun's rays.
CYRIL; The multitude of unclean spirits seek therefore to be sent into the herd of unclean swine, like to themselves, for it follows, And they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them.
ATHAN. But if they have no power over swine, the evil spirits have much less against men who are made after the image of God. We ought then to fear God alone, but despise them.
CYRIL; But the Lord granted them permission, that this might be among other things to us an occasion of benefit, and the confidence of our safety. It follows, And he suffered them. We must therefore consider that the evil spirits are hostile to those which are subject to them, and this will be evident from their sending down the swine violently into the waters and choking them; as it follows, Then went the devils out of the man and entered into the swine, and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. And this Christ permitted to them which sought it, that it might appear from the event how cruel they are. It was also necessary to show that the Son of God has no less power to foresee than the Father, that equal glory might be manifested in each.
TIT. BOST. But the shepherds take flight, lest they should perish with the swine. Hence it follows, When they that fed them saw what was done they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country, and excited the like alarm among the citizens.
But the severity of their loss led them to the Savior; for it follows, Then they went out to see what was done, and came to Jesus; and here remark, that while God punishes men in their substance, He confers a blessing upon their souls. But when they had set out, they see him in his right mind who had been long vexed. It follows, And they found the man out of whom the devils had departed sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed, (whereas before he was naked,) and in his right mind. For he departed not from those feet, where he obtained safety; and so acknowledging the miracle, they were astonished at the cure of the malady, and marveled at the event; for it follows, And they were afraid. But this thing they discover partly by sight, partly hearing it in words.
It follows, They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed, of the devils was healed. But they ought to have besought the Lord not to depart from them, but to be the guardian of their country, that no evil spirits might come near them; but through fear they lost their own salvation, asking the Savior to depart.
It follows, Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes rounds about besought him to depart from them, for they were taken with great fear.
THEOPHYL. They feared lest they should again suffer some loss, as they had suffered in the drowning of the swine.
CHRYS. But observe the humility of Christ; for when after conferring so great benefits upon them they sent Him away, He offers no obstacle, but departs, leaving those who had proclaimed themselves unworthy of His teaching. It follows, And be went up into the ship, and returned back again,
TIT. BOST. But as He was departing, the man who had been afflicted will not part from his Savior, for it follows, Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him.
THEOPHYL. For as one who had been tried by experience, he feared, lest perhaps when far from Jesus he should again become the prey of evil spirits. But the Lord shows him, that though He is not present with him, He can protect by His grace, for it follows, But Jesus sent him away, saying Return to your own house, and show how great things God has done for you. But he said not, "how great things I have done for you," giving us an example of humility, that we should attribute all our righteousness to God.
TIT. BOST. He does not however turn aside from the law of truth, for whatever the Son does the Father does. But why does He, who every where charged those who were delivered to tell no one, say to this man who was delivered from the legion, Show how great things God has done for you? Because in truth that whole country knew not God, and was in bondage to the worship of devils. Or more truly, now that He refers the miracle to His Father, He says, Show how great, &c. but when He speaks of Himself He charges to tell no one. But he who was healed of the evil spirits knew Jesus to be God, and therefore published what great things God had done for him. For it follows, And he went through the whole city, &c.
CHRYS. And so abandoning those who had proclaimed themselves unworthy of His teaching He appoints as their teacher the man who had been released from the evil spirits.
THEOPHYL; Now mystically; Gerasa signifies the Gentile nations, whom after His passion and resurrection Christ visited in His preachers. Hence Gerasa or Gergesa, as some say, is by interpretation "casting out an inhabitant," that is, the devil by whom it was before possessed, or, "a stranger approaching," who before was afar off.
AMBROSE; Now although the number of those healed by Christ is different in Luke and Matthew, yet the mystery is one and the same. For as he who had a devil is the figure of the Gentile people, the two also in like manner take the figure of the Gentiles. For whereas Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet; the family of Shem only was called to the possession of God, and from the other two the people of different nations were ere descended. He (as Luke says) had devils long time, inasmuch as the Gentile people was vexed from the deluge down to our Lord's coming. But he was naked, because the Gentiles lost the garment of their nature and virtue.
AUG. He abode in no house, that is, he had no rest in his conscience; he dwelt among the tombs, because he delighted in dead works in his sins.
AMBROSE; Or what hat are the bodies of the unbelieving but kinds of tombs in which the word of God abides not?
AUG. Now that he was bound by brazen fetters and chains, signifies the harsh and severe laws of the Gentiles, by which also in their states offenses are restrained. But, that having burst these chains he was driven by the evil spirit into the wilderness, means that having broken through these laws, he was also led by lust to those crimes which exceeded the ordinary life of men. By the expression that there was in him a legion of devils, the nations are signified who served many devils. But the fact that the devils were permitted to go into the swine, which fed on the mountains, signifies also the unclean and proud men over whom the evil spirits have dominion, because of their worship of idols. For the swine are they who, after the manner of unclean animals without speech and reason, have defiled the grace of their natural virtues by the filthy actions of their life.
AUG. But by their being sent down violently into the lake, it is meant that the Church has been purified, and now that the Gentiles are delivered from the dominion of evil spirits, those who refuse to believe in Christ, carry on their unholy rites in hidden places with dark and secret watchings.
AMBROSE; They are carried violently down, for they are reclaimed not by the contemplation of any good deed, but thrust as from a higher place to a lower, along the downward path of iniquity, they perish amidst tile waves of this world, shut out from the approach of air. For they who are carried to and fro by the rapid tide of pleasure cannot receive the communication of the Spirit; we see then that man himself is the author of his own misery. For unless a man lived like the swine, the devil would never have received power over him, or received it, not to destroy but to prove him. And perhaps the devil, who after the coming of our Lord can no longer steal away the good, seeks not the destruction of all men, but only the wanton, as the robber lies ill wait not for armed men, but the unarmed. When those who kept the herd saw this they fled. For neither the teachers of philosophy not the chief of the synagogue can bring a cure to perishing mankind. It is Christ alone who takes away the sins of the people.
AUG. Or, by the herdsmen of the swine flying and telling these things, He represents certain rulers of the wicked, who though they evade the law of Christianity, yet proclaim it among the nations by their astonishment and wonder. But by the Gerasenes, when they knew what was done, asking Jesus to depart from them, for they were struck with great fear, he represents the multitude delighting in their old pleasures, honoring indeed, but unwilling to endure the Christian law, saying that they cannot fulfill it, while they still marvel at the faithful released from their former abandoned mode of life.
AMBROSE; Or there seems to have been a kind of synagogue in the city of the Gerasenes who besought our Lord to depart, because they were seized with great fear. For the weak mind receives not the word of God, nor can it endure the burden of wisdom. And therefore He no longer troubled them, but ascends from the lower parts to the higher, from the Synagogue to the Church, and returned across the lake. For no one passes from the Church to the Synagogue without endangering his salvation. But whoever desires to pass from the Synagogue to the Church, let him take up his cross, that he may avoid the danger.
AUG. But that he, now that he is healed, desires to be with Christ, and it is said to him, Return to your house, and tell what great things God has done for you, implies that each should understand, that after the remission of his sins he should return to a good conscience as to his home, and obey the Gospel for the salvation of others, in order that there he may rest with Christ, lest by too. early wishing to he with Christ he neglect the ministry of preaching necessary for this redemption of his brethren.
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AUG. After relating the miracle of the Gadarenes, Luke goes on to relate that of the ruler of the synagogue's daughter; saying, And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.
THEOPHYL. At once both because of His teaching, and His miracles.
AUG. But the event which He adds, And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, must not be supposed to have taken place immediately, but first that of the feast of the publicans which Matthew mentions, to which he so joins on this that it cannot consequently be understood to have happened otherwise.
TIT BOST. The name is inserted for the sake of the Jews, who ho at that time well knew the event, that the name might be a demonstrative proof of the miracle. And there came not one of the lowest, but a ruler of the synagogue, that the mouths of the Jews might be the more closed. As it follows, And he was a ruler of the synagogue. Now he came to Christ because of his need; for grief sometimes urges us to do those things which are right, according to the Psalm, Hold their mouths with bit and bridle, who come not nigh to you.
THEOPHYL. Through urgent need then he fell at His feet, as it follows, And he fell at Jesus' feet; but it were right for him without a pressing necessity to fall at Christ's feet and acknowledge Him to be God.
CHRYS. But mark his dullness of heart, for it follows, and besought him that he would come into his house; being ignorant in truth that He was able to heal when absent. For if he had known, he would have said as the centurion did, Speak the word, and my daughter shall be healed.
GREEK EX. But the cause of his coming is told by adding, For he had only one daughter, the prop of his house, the succession of his race, about twelve years old, in the very flower of her age; and she lay dying, about to be carried to the grave instead of her nuptial bed.
CHRYS. But the Lord had come not to judge the world, but to save it. Whereupon He does not weigh the rank of the petitioner, but calmly undertakes the work, knowing that what was to happen would be greater than what was asked. For He was called to heal the sick, but He knew that He would raise up one that was by this time dead, and implant on the earth a firm hope of the resurrection.
AMBROSE; But when about to raise the dead, in order to bring faith to the ruler of the synagogue, He first cured the issue of blood. So also a temporal resurrection is celebrated at the Passion of our Lord, that the other might be believed to be eternal. But as he went, the people thronged him.
CYRIL; This was the greatest sign that He had really put on our flesh, and trampled under foot all pride. For they followed Him not afar off, but thronged Him.
GREEK EX. Now a certain woman afflicted with a severe disease, whose infirmity had consumed her body, but physicians all her substance, finds her only hope in such great humbleness that she falls down before our Lord; of whom it follows, And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, &c.
TIT. BOST. Of how great praise then is this woman worthy, who with her bodily powers exhausted by the continual issue of blood, and with so great a crowd thronging around Him, in the strength of her affection and faith entered the crowd, and coming behind, secretly touched the hem of His garment.
CYRIL; For it was not lawful for the unclean either to touch any of the holy saints, or come near a holy man.
CHRYS. For by the custom of the Law a malady of this kind was accounted a great uncleanness. Independently of this also, she had not yet a right estimation of Him, else she would not have thought to remain concealed, but nevertheless she came trusting to be healed.
THEOPHYL. But as when a man turns his eye to a shining light, or puts fuel to the fire, immediately they have their effects; so indeed he who brings faith to Him who is able to cure, immediately obtains his cure; as it is said, and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
CHRYS. But not the garments alone saved her, (for the soldiers also allotted them among themselves,) but the earnestness of her faith.
THEOPHYL. For she believed, and was saved, and as was fitting first touched Christ with her mind, then with her body.
GREEK EX. But the Lord heard the woman's silent thoughts, and silently released her silent, permitting willingly the seizing of her cure. But afterwards He makes known the miracle, as it follows: And Jesus said, Who touched me?
CYRIL; For the miracle which was performed escaped not the Lord, but He who knew all things asks as if He were ignorant.
GREEK EX. Now His disciples who knew not what was asked, but supposed He spoke merely of one touching Him, answer our Lord's question, as follows, When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude press you and throng you, and say you, Who touched me? Our Lord therefore distinguishes the touching by His answer, as it follows, And Jesus said, Somebody has touched me: as He said also, He that has ears to hear, let him hear, although all had bodily hearing of this kind; but it is not truly hearing if a man hear carelessly, nor truly touching if he touch unfaithfully. He now therefore publishes what was done, as it is added, For I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. He answers rather materially, in consideration of the minds of His hearers. He is here, however, manifested to us to be the true God, both by His miraculous deed, and by His word. For it is beyond us, and perhaps beyond angels also, to be able to communicate virtue as from our own nature. This belongs to the Supreme Nature alone. For nothing created possesses the power of healing, or even of doing any other like miracles, except it be divinely given. But it was not from desire of glory that He suffered not to remain concealed the exhibition of His divine power, Who had so often charged silence about His miracles, but because He looked to their advantage who are called through faith to grace.
CHRYS. For first He removes the woman's fear, lest she should suffer the pangs of conscience, for as it were stealing the grace. Next He reproves her for thinking to lie concealed. Thirdly, He makes known her faults publicly for the sake of others, and betrays no less a miracle than the stanching of blood, by showing that all things are open to His sight.
CYRIL; Moreover, He persuaded the ruler of the synagogue to believe undoubtingly that He would rescue his daughter from the hands of death.
CHRYS. Now our Lord did not immediately discover her, for this reason, that by showing that all things are known to Him, He might make the woman publish what was done, that the miracle might be free from all suspicion. Hence it follows, And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling.
ORIGEN; But the same cure which the woman obtained by touching Him, our Savior confirmed by His word; as it follows, And he said to her, Your faith has made you whole; go in peace, that is, Be released from your scourge. And indeed He first heals her soul by faith, then truly her body.
TIT. BOST. He calls her daughter, as already healed because of her faith, for faith claims the grace of adoption.
EUSEB. Now they say that the woman set up in Paneas (Caesarea Philippi, whence she came) a noble triumphal monument of the mercy vouchsafed to her by the Savior. For there stood upon a lofty pedestal near the entrance to her house a brazen statue of a woman on bended knees, and with her hands joined as if in prayer; opposite to which was erected another statue like to a man, made of the same material, clothed in a stole, and holding forth his hand to the woman. At his feet upon the base itself a strange kind of plant was growing, which reaching to the hem of the brazen stole, was said to be the cure of all diseases. And they said that this statue represents Christ. It was destroyed by Maximinus.
AMBROSE; Now mystically Christ had left the synagogue in Gerasa, and Him whom His own received not we strangers receive.
THEOPHYL; Or at the end of the world the Lord is about to return to the Jews, and to be gladly received by them through confession of the faith.
AMBROSE; But whom do we suppose the chief of the synagogue to be, but the Law, from consideration of which our Lord had not entirely abandoned the synagogue.
THEOPHYL; Or, by the ruler of the synagogue is understood Moses. Hence he is rightly called Jairus, that is, "enlightening" or "enlightened," as he who receives the words of life to give to us, thereby both enlightens others, and is himself also enlightened by the Holy Spirit. But the ruler of the synagogue fell at the feet of Jesus, because the lawgiver with the whole race of the patriarchs knew that Christ, appearing in the flesh, would be far preferred to them. For if the head of Christ is God, His feet must agreeably to this be taken for the Incarnation, by which He touched the earth of our mortality. The ruler asked Him to enter into his house, because he was desirous to behold His coming. His only daughter is the Synagogue, which alone was framed with a legal institution; which at twelve years of age, that is, when the time of puberty was approaching, lay dying; for having been brought up nobly by the prophets, as soon as it came to years of discretion, when it ought to bring forth spiritual fruits to God, being suddenly subdued through its weakness and error, it forgot to enter the way of spiritual life, and unless Christ had come to its help, would have fallen away into destruction. But the Lord going to heal the girl is thronged by the crowd, because giving wholesome warnings to the Jewish nation, He was borne down by the customs of a carnal people.
AMBROSE; But while the Word of God hastens to this daughter of the ruler that He might save the children of Israel, the holy Church collected from among the Gentiles which was perishing by its falling away into gross crimes, seized first by faith the health prepared for others.
THEOPHYL; Now the issue of blood may be taken in two ways, that is, both for the prostitution of idolatry, and for those things which are done for the delights of the flesh and blood.
AMBROSE; But what means it that this daughter of the ruler was dying at twelve years, and the woman was afflicted with the issue of blood for twelve years, but that it might be understood that as long as the Synagogue flourished the Church was weak. For almost in the same age of the world, the Synagogue began to grow up among the patriarchs, and idolatry to pollute the Gentile nation.
AMBROSE; But as she had spent all her substance upon physicians, so the Gentile nations had lost all the gifts of nature.
THEOPHYL; Now by physicians understand either false doctors, or philosophers and teachers of secular laws, who disputing much concerning virtue and vice, promised that they would give to mortals useful instructions for life; or suppose that by the physicians are signified the unclean spirits themselves, who by giving as it were advice to men, procure themselves to be worshipped as God, on listening to whom the Gentiles the more they consumed the strength of their natural industry, so much the less were they able to be cured from the pollution of their iniquity.
AMBROSE; Now hearing that the people of the Jews were sick, she begins to hope for the remedy of their salvation; she knew that the time was arrived when a Physician should come from heaven, she rose to meet Him, more ready from faith, more backward from modesty. For this is the part of modesty and faith to acknowledge weakness, not to despair of pardon. From modesty then she touched the hem of His garment; in faith she came, in piety believed, in wisdom knew herself to be healed; so the holy people of the Gentiles which believed God, blushed at its sins so as to desert them, offered its faith in believing, showed its devotion in asking put on wisdom in itself feeling its own cure, assumed boldness to confess that it had forestalled what was not its own. Now Christ is touched behind, as it is written, You shall walk after the Lord your God.
THEOPHYL; And He Himself says, If any man serve me, let him follow me. Or, because not seeing Christ present in the flesh, now that the sacraments of the temporary dispensation were completed, the Church began to follow His footsteps through faith.
GREG. But while the crowd thronged Him, one woman touched our Redeemer, because all carnal men in the Church oppress Him from whom they are afar off, and they alone touch Him who are joined to Him in humility. The crowd therefore press Him and touch Him not, because it is both importunate in presence, and absent in life.
THEOPHYL; Or one believing woman touches the Lord, since Christ who is afflicted beyond measure by the diverse heresies multiplying around Him, is faithfully sought by the heart alone of the Catholic Church.
AMBROSE; For they believe not who throng Him; they believe who touch. By faith Christ is touched, by faith He is seen. Lastly, to express the faith of her who touched Him, He says, I know that virtue is gone out of me, which is a more palpable sign, that the Divine Nature is not confined within the possibility of man's condition, and the compass of the human body, but eternal virtue overflows beyond the bounds of our mediocrity. For the Gentile people is not released by man's aid, but the gathering of nations is the gift of God, which even by its little faith turns to itself the everlasting mercy. For if we think what our faith is, and understand how great the Son of God is, we see that in comparison of Him we touch only the hem, we cannot reach the upper parts of the garment. If then we also wish to be cured, let us touch by faith the hem of Christ. But he who has touched Him is not hidden. Happy the man who has touched the extreme part of the Word. For who can comprehend the whole?
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CHRYS. Our Lord conveniently waited until the death of the girl, that the miracle of her resurrection might be made public. For which reason also He goes slower, and speaks longer with the woman, that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue may expire, and messengers come to tell Him As it is said, While he yet spoke, there comes one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Your daughter is dead.
AUG. But since Matthew states the ruler of the synagogue to have told our Lord that his daughter was not on the point of death but quite dead, and Luke and Mark say, that she was not yet dead, nay, even go so far as to say that there came some afterwards, who told her death; we must examine, lest they should seem to be at variance. And we must understand that for the sake of brevity, Matthew chose rather to say, that our Lord was asked to do what it is obvious He did, namely, to raise the dead. For our Lord needs not the words of the father concerning his daughter, but what is more important, his wishes.
Certainly, if the other two or any one of them had mentioned that the father had said what those who came from the house said, that Jesus need not be troubled because the maid was dead, His words which Matthew has related would seem to be at variance with his thoughts. But now to those who brought that message, and said that the Master need not come, it is not said that the father assented. The Lord therefore did not blame him as distrustful, but the more strongly confirms his belief. As it follows, But when Jesus heard it, he answered the father of the girl, Believe only, &c.
ATHAN. Our Lord requires faith from those who invoke Him, not because He needs the assistance of others, (for He is both the Lord and Giver of faith,) but not to seem to bestow His gifts according to His acceptance of persons, He shows that He favors those who believe, lest they should receive benefits without faith, and lose them by unbelief. For when He bestows a favor, He wishes it to last, and when He heals, the cure to remain undisturbed.
THEOPHYL. When He was about to raise the dead He put all out, as teaching us to be free from vain-glory, and to do nothing for show, for when any one ought to perform miracles, he must not be in the midst of a great many, but alone and apart from the other. As it follows, And when be came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John. Now these only He permitted to enter as the Heads of His disciples, and able to conceal the miracle. For He did not wish to be revealed to many before His time, perhaps on account of the envy of the Jews. So also when any one envies us, we ought not to make known to him our righteousness, lest we give him an occasion of greater envy.
CHRYS. But He took not with Him His other disciples, so provoking them to a strange desire, because also they were not yet fully prepared, but He took Peter, and with him the sons of Zebedee, that the others also might imitate them. He took also the parents as witnesses, lest any should say the evidence of the resurrection was false. Luke adds to this also, that He shut out from the house those that were weeping, and showed that they were unworthy of a sight of this kind. For it follows, And they all wept, and bewailed her. But if He then shut them out, much more now. For then it had not yet been revealed that death was turned into sleep. Let no one then hereafter despise himself, bringing an insult to the victory of Christ, whereby He has overcome death, and turned it into sleep. In proof of which it is added, But he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleeps, &c. showing that all things were at His command, and that He would bring her to life as if He were awakening her from sleep.
They yet nevertheless laughed Him to scorn. For it follows, And they laughed him to scorn. He did not reprove them nor put an end to their laughter, that laughter also might be a sign of death. For since generally, after a miracle has been performed men continue unfaithful, He takes them by their own words. But that He might by sight dispose to the belief of the resurrection, He takes the hand of the maid.
As it follows, But he took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
And when He had taken her by the hand, He awoke her. As it follows, And her spirit returned, and she arose straightway. For He poured not into her another soul, but restored the same which she had breathed forth. Nor does he only awake the maid, but orders her to take food. For it follows, And he commanded to give her meat. That it might not seem like a vision what was done. Nor did He Himself give to her, but He commanded others to do it. As also He said in the case of Lazarus, Loose him. And afterwards He made him partake of meat with Him.
GREEK EX. He next charges the parents, astonished at the miracle, and almost crying out, not to publish abroad what was done. As it follows, And her parents were astonished; but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done; showing that He is the Giver of good things, but not covetous of glory, and that He gives the whole, receiving nothing. But he who seeks after the glory of his works has indeed shown forth something, but receives something.
THEOPHYL; But mystically, when the woman was cured of the issue of blood, word is brought that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue is dead; because while the Church was cleansed from the stain of its sins, the Synagogue was forthwith destroyed by unbelief and envy; by unbelief indeed, in that it refused to believe in Christ; by envy, in that it was grieved that the Church had believed.
AMBROSE; But still also were the servants of the ruler incredulous with regard to the resurrection, which Jesus had foretold in the Law, fulfilled in the Gospel; therefore say they, Do not trouble him; as if it were impossible for Him to raise the dead.
THEOPHYL; Or this is even to this day said by those who see the state of the synagogue so destitute that they do not believe it can be restored, and therefore think nothing of praying for its resurrection. But those things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Therefore said the Lord to him, Fear not, only believe, and she shall be made whole The father of the girl is taken for the assembly of the doctors of the Law, which if it were willing to believe, the Synagogue also which is subject to it will be safe.
AMBROSE; Therefore having entered into the house, He called a few to be judges of the coming resurrection: for the resurrection was not soon believed by the many. What then was as the cause of this great difference? In a former case the widow's son is raised up before all, here a few only are set apart to judge. But I think that herein the mercy of the Lord is shown, since the widowed mother of an only son suffered no delay. There is also the token of wisdom, that in the widow's son we should see the Church quick in believing; in the ruler of the synagogue's daughter, the Jews about indeed to believe, but out of a great many only a few. Lastly, when our Lord says, She is not dead, but sleeps, they laughed Him to scorn. For whoever believes not, laughs. Let them therefore mourn their dead who think they are dead. Where there is a belief of the resurrection, the notion is not of death but of rest.
THEOPHYL; The Synagogue also, because it has lost the joy of the Bridegroom, whereby alone it can live, lying dead as it were among those that mourn, understands not even the reason why it weeps.
AMBROSE; Now the Lord taking hold of the hand of the maid, cured her. Blessed is he whom wisdom takes by the hand, that she may bring him into her secret places, and command to be given him to eat. For the bread of heaven is the word of God. Hence comes also that wisdom which has filled its altars with the food of the body and blood of God. Come, she says, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mixed for you.
THEOPHYL; Now the maid arose straightway, because when Christ strengthens the hand, man revives from the death of the soul. For there are some, who only by the secret thought of sin are conscious of bringing death to themselves. The Lord signifying that such He brings to life again, raised the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. But others, by committing the very evil in which they delight, carry their dead as it were without the gates, and to show that He raises these, He raised the widow's son without the gates.
But some also, by habits of sin, bury themselves, as it were, and become corrupt; and to raise these also the grace of the Savior is not wanting; to intimate which He raised from the dead Lazarus, who had been four days in the grave. But the deeper the death of the soul, so much the more intense should be the fervor of penitence. Hence He raises with a gentle voice the maid who lay dead in the room, the youth who was carried out He strengthens with many words, but to raise him who had been dead four days, He groaned in His spirit, He poured forth tears, and cried with a loud voice. But here also we must observe, that a public calamity needs a public remedy. Slight offenses seek to be blotted out by secret penitence. The maid lying in the house rises again with few witnesses; the youth without the house is raised in the presence of a great crowd who accompanied him. Lazarus summoned from the tomb was known to many nations.
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