Golden Chain 13312
13312 Jn 13,12-20
AUG. Our Lord, mindful of His promise to Peter that he should know the meaning of His act, you shall know here after, now begins to teach him: So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was sat down again, He said to them, Know you what I have done to you?
ORIGEN. Know you, is either interrogative, to show the greatness of the act, or imperative, to rouse their minds.
ALCUIN. Mystically, when at our redemption we were changed by the shedding of His blood, He took again His garments, rising from the grave the third day, and clothed in the same body now immortal, ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father, from whence He shall come to judge the world.
CHRYS. He speaks now not to Peter alone, but to all: you call Me Master and Lord. He accepts their judgment; and to prevent the words being set down merely to favor on their parts, adds, And you say well, for so I am.
AUG. It is enjoined in the Proverbs, Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth. For it is dangerous for one to praise himself, who has to beware of pride. But He who is above all things, howsoever He praise Himself, extols not Himself too highly. Nor can God be called arrogant: for that we should know Him is no gain to Him, but to us. Nor can anyone know Him, unless He who knows, show Himself. So that if to avoid arrogance He did not praise Himself, He would be denying us wisdom. But why should the Truth fear arrogance? To His calling Himself Master, no one could object, even were He man only, since professors in different arts call themselves so without presumption. But what free man can bear the title of lord in a man? Yet when God speaks, height cannot exalt itself; truth cannot lie; it is for us to submit to that height, to obey that truth. Wherefore you say well in that you call Me Master and Lord, for so I am; but if I were not what you say, you would say ill.
ORIGEN. They do not say well, Lord, to whom it shall be said, Depart from Me, you that work iniquity. But; the Apostles say well, Master and Lord, for wickedness had not dominion over them, but the Word of God.
If then I your Lord and Master have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
CHRYS. He shows us the greater, that we may do the less. For He was the Lord, but we, if we do it, do it to our fellow-servants:
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
BEDE. Our Lord first did a thing, then taught it: as it is said, Jesus began both to do and to teach (Ac 1,1).
AUG. This is, blessed Peter, what you were ignorant of; this you were told that you should know afterwards.
ORIGEN. But it is not necessary for one who wishes to do all the commandments of Jesus, literally to perform the act of washing feet. This is merely a matter of custom; and the custom is now generally dropped.
AUG. This act is done literally by many, when they receive one another in hospitality. For it is unquestionably better that it should be done with the hands, and that the Christian disdain not to do what Christ did. For when the body is bent at the feet of a brother, the feeling of humility is made to rise in the heart, or, if it be there already, is confirmed. But besides this moral meaning, is not a brother able to change a brother from the pollution of sin? Let us confess our faults one to another, forgive one another's faults, pray for one another's faults. In this way we shall wash one another's feet.
ORIGEN. Or thus: This spiritual washing of the feet is done primarily by Jesus Himself, secondarily by His disciples, in that He said to them, you ought to wash one another's feet. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples as their Master, of His servants as their Lord. But the object of the master is to make His disciples as Himself; and our Savior beyond all other masters and lords, wished His disciples to be as their Master and Lord, not having the spirit of bondage, but the spirit of adoption, whereby they, cry, Abba, Father (Rm 8,19). So then before they become masters and lords, they need the washing of the feet, being as vet insufficient disciples, and savoring of the spirit of bondage. But when they have attained to the state of master and lord, they then are able to imitate their Master, and to wash the disciples' feet by their doctrine.
CHRYS He continues to urge them to wash one another's feet; Verily, verily, I Say to you, The servant is not greater than his lord, neither He that is sent greater than He that sent Him; as if to say, If I do it, much more ought you.
THEOPHYL. This was a necessary admonition to the Apostles, some of whom were about to rise higher, others to lower degrees of eminence. That none might exult over another, He changes the hearts of all.
BEDE. To know what is good, and not to do it, tends not to happiness, but to condemnation; as James said, To him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin (Jc 4,17). Wherefore He adds, If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.
CHRYS. For all know, but all do not do. He then rebukes the traitor, not openly, but covertly: I speak not of you all.
AUG. As if to say, There is one among you who will not be blessed, nor does these things. I know whom I have chosen. Whom, but those who shall be happy by doing His commandments? Judas therefore was not chosen. But if so, why does He say in another place, Have not I chosen you twelve? Because Judas was chosen for that for which he was necessary, but not for that happiness of which He says, Happy are you, if you do them.
ORIGEN. Or thus: I speak not of you all, does not refer to, Happy are you if you do them. For of Judas, or any other person, it may be said, Happy is he if he do them. The words refer to the sentence above, The servant is not greater than his lord, neither He that is sent greater than He that sent Him. For Judas, being a servant of sin, was not a servant of the Divine Word; nor an Apostle, when the devil had entered into him. Our Lord knew those who were His, and did not know who were not His, and therefore says, not, I know all present, but, I know whom I have chosen, i.e. I know My Elect.
CHRYS. Then, that He might not sadden them all, He c adds, But that the Scripture must be fulfilled, He that eats bread with Me, has lifted up his heel against Me: strewing that He knew who the traitor was, an intimation that would surely have checked him, if anything would. He does not say, shall betray Me, but, shall lift up his heel against Me, alluding to his deceit and secret plotting.
AUG. Shall lift up his heel against Me, i.e. shall tread upon Me. The traitor Judas is meant.
CHRYS. He that eats bread with Me; i.e. who was fed by Me, who partook of My table. So that if injured ever by our servants or inferiors, we need not be offended. Judas had received infinite benefits, and yet thus requited his Benefactor.
AUG. They then who were chosen ate the Lord; he ate the bread of the Lord, to injure the Lord; they ate life, he damnation; for he that eats unworthily, eats damnation to himself (1Co 11,27).
Now I tell you before it come, that when it is come, you may believe that I am He, i.e. of whom that Scripture foretold.
ORIGEN. That you may believe, is not said, as if the Apostles did not believe already, but is equivalent to saying, Do as you believe, and persevere in your belief, seeking for no occasion of falling away. For besides the evidences the disciples had already seen, they had now that of the fulfillment of prophecy.
CHRYS. As the disciples were about to go forth and to suffer many things, He consoles them by promising His own assistance and that of others; His own, when He says, Happy are you if you do them; that of others, in what follows, Verily, verily, I say to you, He that receives whomsoever I send, receives Me; and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me.
ORIGEN. For he that receives him whom Jesus sends, receives Jesus who is represented by him; and he that receives Jesus, receives the Father. Therefore he that receives whom Jesus sends, receives the Father that sent. The words may have this meaning too: He that receives whom I send, had attained unto receiving Me: he who receives Me not by means of any Apostle, but by My own entrance into his soul, receives the Father; so that not only I abide in him, but the Father also.
AUG. The Arians, when they hear this passage, appeal immediately to the gradations in their system, that as far as the Apostle is from the Lord, so far is the Son from the Father. But our Lord has left us no room for doubt on this head; for He said, I and My Father are one.
But how shall we understand those words of our Lord, He that receives Me, receives Him that sent Me? If we take them to mean that the Father and the Son are of one nature it will seem to follow, when He says, He that receives whomsoever 1 send, receives Me, that the Son and an Apostle are of one nature.
May not the meaning be, He that receives whosoever I send, receives Me, i.e. Me as man: But He that receives Me, i. e as God, receives Him that sent Me. But it is not this unity of nature, which is here put forth, but the authority of the Sender, as represented by Him who is sent. In Peter hear Christ, the Master of the disciple, in the Son the Father, the Begotten of the Only Begotten.
13321 Jn 13,21-30
CHRYS. Our Lord after His twofold promise of assistance to the Apostles in their future labors, remembers that the traitor is cut off from both, and is troubled at the thought: When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say to you, that one of you shall betray Me.
AUG. This did not come into His mind then for the first time; but He was now about to make the traitor known, and single him out from the rest, and therefore was troubled in spirit. The traitor too was now just about to go forth to execute his purpose. He was troubled at the thought of His Passion being so near at hand, at the dangers to which His faithful followers would be brought at the hand of the traitor, which were even now impending over Him. Our Lord deigned to be troubled also, to show that false brethren cannot be cut off; even in the most urgent necessity, without the troubling of the Church. He was troubled not in flesh, but in spirit; for on occasion of scandals of this kind, the spirit is troubled, not perversely, but in love, lest in separating the tares, some of the wheat too be plucked up with them. But whether He was troubled by pity for perishing Judas, or, by the near approach of His own death, He was troubled not through weakness of mind, but power: He was not troubled because anything compelled Him, but He troubled Himself, as was said above. And in that He was troubled, He consoles the weak members of His body, i.e. His Church, that they may not think themselves reprobate, should they be troubled at the approach of death.
ORIGEN. His being troubled in spirit, was the human part, suffering under the excess of the spiritual. For if every Saint lives, acts, and suffers in the spirit, how much more is this true of Jesus, the Rewarder of Saints.
AUG. Away then with the reasonings of the Stoics, who deny that perturbation of mind can come upon a wise man; who, as they take vanity for truth, so make their healthy state of mind insensibility. It is good that the mind of the Christian may be perturbed, not by misery, but by pity. One of you, He said, i.e. one in respect of number, not of merit, in appearance not in virtue.
CHRYS. As He did not mention Him by name, all began to fear: Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom He spoke; not conscious of any evil in themselves, and entrusting to Christ's words, more than to their own thoughts.
AUG. They had a devoted love for their Master but yet so that human weakness made them doubt of one another.
ORIGEN. They remembered too, that, as men, before they were matured, their minds were liable to change, so as to form wishes the very opposite to what they might have had before.
CHRYS. While all were trembling, and not excepting even Peter, their head, John, as the beloved disciple, lay upon Jesus' breast. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
AUG. This is John, whose Gospel this is, as he afterwards declares. It is the custom of the sacred writers, when they come to any thing relating to themselves, to speak of themselves, as if they were speaking of another. For if the thing itself is related correctly, what does truth lose by the omission of boasting on the writer's part?
CHRYS. If you want to know the cause of this familiarity, it is love: Whom Jesus loved. Others were loved, but he was loved more than any.
ORIGEN. I think this has a peculiar meaning, viz. that John was admitted to a knowledge of the more secret mysteries of the Word.
CHRYS. Whom Jesus loved. This John says to show his own innocence, and also why it was that Peter beckoned to him, inasmuch as he was not Peter's superior: Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spoke. Peter had been just reproved, and therefore, checking the customary vehemence of his love, he did not speak himself now, but made John speak for him. He always appears in Scripture as zealous, and an intimate friend of John's.
AUG. Observe too his mode of speaking, which was not by word, but by beckoning; Beckoned and spoke, i.e. spoke by beckoning. If even thoughts speak, as when it is said, They spoke among themselves, much more may beckonings, which are a kind of outward expression of our thoughts.
ORIGEN. Or, at first he beckoned, and then not content with beckoning, spoke: Who is it of whom he speaks?
He then lying on Jesus' breast, said to Him, Lord, who is it?
AUG. On Jesus' breast; the same as in Jesus' bosom. Or, he lay first in Jesus' bosom, and then ascended higher, and lay upon His breast; as if, had he remained lying in His bosom, and not ascended to lie on His breast, our Lord would not have told him what Peter wanted to know. By his lying at last on Jesus' breast, is expressed that greater and more abundant grace, which made him Jesus' special disciple.
BEDE. That he lay in the bosom, and upon the breast, was not only an evidence of present love, but also a sign of the future, viz. of those new and mysterious doctrines which be was afterwards commissioned to reveal to the world.
AUG. For by bosom what else is signified but secret? Here is the hollow of the breast, the secret' chamber of wisdom.
CHRYS. But not even then did our Lord expose the traitor by name; Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it. Such a mode of declaring him, should itself have turned him from his purpose. Even if a partaking of the same table did not shame him, a partaking of the same bread might have. And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
AUG. Not as some careless readers think, that then Judas received singly Christ's body. For our Lord had already distributed the sacraments of His body and blood to all of them, while Judas was as there, as Luke relates; and after this He dipped the sop, as John relates, and gave it to the traitor; the dipping of the bread perhaps signifying the deep dye of his sin; for some dipping cannot be wasted out again; i.e. when things are dipped, in order to receive a permanent dye.
If however this dipping meant anything good, he was as ungrateful for it, and deserved the damnation which followed him; And after the sop, Satan entered into him.
ORIGEN. Observe, that at first Satan did not enter into Judas, but only put it into his heart to betray his Master. But after the bread, he entered into him. Wherefore let us beware, that Satan thrust not any of his flaming darts into our heart; for if he do, he then watches till he gets an entrance there himself.
CHRYS. So long as he was one of the twelve, the devil did not dare to force an entrance into him; but when he was pointed out, and expelled, then he easily leaped into him.
AUG. Or entered into him, that he might have more full possession of him: for he was in him, when he agreed with the Jews to betray, our Lord for a sum of money, according to Luke: Then entered Satan into Judas Iscariot, and he went away, and communed with the chief priests (Lc 22,3-4). In this state he came to the supper. But after the sop the devil entered, not to tempt him, as though he were independent, but to possess him as his own.
ORIGEN. It was proper that by the ceremony of the bread, that good should be taken from him, which he thought he had: whereof being deprived, he was laid open to admit Satan's entrance.
AUG. But some will say, was his being given up to the devil the effect of his receiving the sop from Christ? To whom we answer, that they may learn here the danger of receiving amiss what is in itself good. If he is reproved who does not discern, i.e. who does not distinguish, the Lord's body from other food, how is he condemned who, feigning himself a friend, comes an enemy to the Lord's table?
Then said Jesus to him, That which you do, do quickly.
ORIGEN. This may have been said either to Judas, or to Satan, either to provoke the enemy to the combat, or the traitor to do his part in bringing on that dispensation, which was to save the world; which He wished not to be delayed any longer, but to be as soon as possible matured.
AUG. He did not however enjoin the act, but foretold it, not from g desire for the destruction of the perfidious, but to hasten on the salvation of the faithful.
CHRYS. That which you do, do quickly, is not a command, or a recommendation, but a reproof, meant to show too that He was not going to offer any hindrance to His betrayal.
Now no man at the table knew for what intent He spoke this to him. It is not easy to see, when the disciples had asked, Who is he, and He had replied, He it is to whom I shall give a sop, how it was that they did not understand Him; unless it was that He spoke too low to be heard; and that John lay upon His breast, when he asked the question, for that very reason, i.e. that the traitor might not be made known.
For had Christ made him known, perhaps Peter would have killed him. So it was then, that none at the table knew what our Lord meant. But why not John? Because he could not conceive how a disciple could fall into such wickedness: he was far from such wickedness himself, and therefore did not suspect it of others. What they thought He meant we are told in what follows: For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said to him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast, or, that he should give something to the poor.
AUG. Our Lord then had bags, in which; He kept the oblations of the faithful, to supply the wants of His own followers, or the poor. Here is the first institution of ecclesiastical property. Our Lord shows that His commandment not to think of the morrow, does not mean that the Saints should never save money; but that they should not neglect the service of God for it, or let the fear of want tempt them to injustice.
CHRYS. None of the disciples contributed this money, but it is hinted that it was certain women, who, it is said, ministered to Him of their means. But how was it that He Who forbade scrip, and staff, and money, carried bags for the relief of the poor? It was to show you, that even the very poor, those who are crucified to this world, ought to attend to this duty. He did many things in order to instruct us in our duty.
ORIGEN. Our Lord then said to Judas, That which you do, do quickly, and the traitor this once obeyed his Master. For having received the sop, he started immediately on his work: He then having received the sop, went immediately out. And indeed he did go out, not only from the house in which he was, but from Jesus altogether. It would seem that Satan, after he had entered into Judas, could not bear to be in the same place with Jesus: for there is no agreement between Jesus and Satan. Nor is it idle inquiring why after he had received the sop, it is not added, that he ate it. Why did not Judas eat the bread, after he received it? Perhaps because, as soon as he had received it, the devil, who had put it into his heart to betray Christ, fearful that the bread, if eaten, might drive out what he had put in, entered into him, so that he went out immediately, before he ate it. And it may be serviceable to remark, that as he who eats our Lord's bread and drinks His cup unworthily, eats and drinks to his own damnation; so the bread which Jesus gave him was eaten by the rest to their salvation, but by Judas to his damnation, inasmuch as after it the devil entered into him.
CHRYS. It follows: And it was night, to show the impetuosity of Judas, in persisting in spite of the unseasonableness of the hour.
ORIGEN. The time of night corresponded with the night which overspread the soul of Judas.
GREG. By the time of the day is signified the end of the action. Judas went out in the night to accomplish his perfidy, for which he was never to be pardoned.
13331 Jn 13,31-32
ORIGEN. After the glory of His miracles, and His transfiguration, the next glorifying of the Son of man began, when Judas went out with Satan, who had entered into him; Therefore when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. For it is not the eternal only-begotten Word, but the glory of the Man born of the seed of David, which is here meant.
Christ at His death, in which He glorified God, having spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them, openly triumphing over them (Col 2,15). And again, Made peace by the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things to Himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (Col 1,20). Thus the Son of man was glorified, and God glorified in Him; for Christ cannot be glorified, except the Father be glorified with Him. But whoever is glorified, is glorified by someone.
By whom then is the Son of man glorified? He tells you; If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify if Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him.
CHRYS. i.e. by Himself, not by any other. And shall straightway glorify Him, i.e. not at any distant time, but immediately, while He is yet on the very cross shall His glory appear. For the sun was darkened, rocks were rent, and many bodies of those that slept arose. In this way He restores the drooping spirits of His disciples, and persuades them, instead of sorrowing, to rejoice.
AUG. Or thus: The unclean went out: the clean remained with their cleanser. Thus will it be when the tares are separated from the wheat; The righteous shall shine forth as the sale in the kingdom of their Father (Mt 13,43). Our Lord, foreseeing this, said, when Judas went out, as if the tares were now separated, and He left alone with the wheat, the holy Apostles.
Now is the Son of man glorified; as if to say, Behold what will take place at My glorifying, at which none of the wicked shall be present, none of the righteous shall perish. He does not say, Now is the glorifying of the Son of man signified; but, Now is the Son of man glorified; as it is not that rock signified Christ, or but, That Rock was Christ (1Co 10,4).
Scripture often speaks of the things signifying, as if they were the things signified. But the glorifying of the Son of man, is the glorifying of God in Him; as He adds, And God is glorified in Him, which He proceeds to explain; If God is glorified in Him - for He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him - God shall also glorify Him in Himself, so that the human nature which was assumed by the eternal Word, shall also be endowed with eternity.
And shall straightway glorify Him. He predicts His own resurrection, which was to follow immediately, not at the end of the world, like ours. Thus it is; Now is the Son of man glorified; the now referring not to His approaching Passion, hut the resurrection which was immediately to follow it: as if that which was so very soon to be, had already taken place.
HILARY. That God is glorified in Him, refers to the glory of the body, which glory is the glory of God, in that the body borrows its glory from its association with the Divine nature because God is glorified in Him, therefore He will; glorify Him in Himself, in that He who reigns in the glory arising from the glory of God, He forthwith passes over into God's glory, leaving the dispensation of His manhood wholly to abide in God.
Nor is He silent as to the time And shall straightway glorify Him. This referring to the glory of His resurrection which was immediately to follow His passion, which He mentions as present, because Judas had now gone out to betray Him; whereas that God would glorify Him in Himself, He reserves for the future. The glory of God was strewn in Him by the miracle of the resurrection; but He will abide in the glory of God when He has left the dispensation of subjection.
The sense of these first words, Now is the Son of man glorified, is not doubtful: it is the glory of the flesh which is meant, not that of the Word But what means the next, And God is glorified in Him? The Son of man is not another Person from the Son of God for, the Word was made flesh (Jn 1,14). How is God glorified in this Son of man, who is the Son of God?
The next clause helps us; If God is glorified in Him, God also will glorify Him in Himself. A man is not glorified in himself, nor, on the other hand, does God who is glorified in man, because He receives glory, cease to be God. So the words, God is glorified in Him, either mean that Christ is glorified in the flesh, or that God is glorified in Christ. If God means Christ, it is Christ who is glorified in the flesh; if the Father, then it is the Sacrament of unity, the Father glorified in the Son. Again, God glorifies in Himself God glorified in the Son of man.
This overthrows the impious doctrine that Christ is not very God, in verity of nature. For how can that which God glorifies in Himself be out of Himself? He whom the Father glorifies must be confessed to be in His glory, and He who is glorified in the glory of the Father, must be understood to be in the same case with the Father.
ORIGEN. Or thus: The word glory is here used in a different sense from that which some Pagans attach to it, who defined glory to be the collected praises of the many. It is evident that glory in such a sense is a different thing from that mentioned in Exodus, where it is said, that the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exod 40:34), and that the face of Moses was glorified. The glory here mentioned is something visible, a certain divine appearance in the temple, and on Moses' face; but in a higher and more spiritual sense we are glorified, when with the eye of the understanding we penetrate into the things of God.
For the mind when it ascends above material things, and spiritually sees God, is defied: and of this spiritual glory, the visible glory on the face of Moses is a figure: for his mind it was that was defied by converse with God. But there is no comparison between the excellent glory of Christ, and the knowledge of Moses, whereby the face of his soul was glorified: for the whole of the Father's glory shines upon the Son, who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person (He 1,3). Yea, and from the light of this whole glory there go forth particular glories, throughout the whole rational creation; though none can take in the whole of the divine glory, except the Son.
But so far as the Son was known to the world, so far only was He glorified. And as yet He was not fully known. But afterward the Father spread the knowledge of Him over the whole world, and then was the Son of man glorified in those who knew Him. And of this glory He has made all who know Him partakers: as said the Apostle: We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory (2Co 3,18), i.e. from His glory receive glory.
When He was approaching then that dispensation, by which He was to become known to the world, and to be glorified in the glory of those who glorified Him, He says, Now is the Son of man glorified (Mt 11,27). And because no man knows the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him, and the Son by the dispensation was about to reveal the Father; for this reason He said, And God is glorified in Him. Or compare this with the text below: He that has seen Me, has seen the Father. The Father who begat the Word is seen in the Word, who is God, and the image of the invisible God. But the words may be taken in a larger sense. For as through some the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles, so through the saints whose good deeds are seen and acknowledged by the world, the name of the Father in heaven is magnified.
But in whom was He so glorified as in Jesus, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth? Such being the Son, He is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. And if God is glorified in Him, the Father returns Him more than He gave. For the glory of the Son of man, when the Father glorifies Him, far exceeds the Father's glory, when He is glorified in the Son: it being fit that the greater should return the greater glory. And as this, viz. the glorifying of the Son of man, was just about to be accomplished, our Lord adds, And will straightway glorify Him.
13333 Jn 13,33-35
AUG. After He had said, And shall straightway glorify Him, that they might not think that God was going to glorify Him in such a way, as that He would no longer have any converse with them on earth, He says, Little children, yet a little while I am with you: as if He said, I shall indeed straightway be glorified by My resurrection, but I shall not straightway ascend to heaven. For we read in the Acts of the Apostles, that He was with them forty days after His resurrection. These forty days are what He means by, A little while I am with you.
ORIGEN. Little children, He says; for their souls were yet in infancy. But these little children, after His death, were made brethren; as before they were little children, they were servants.
AUG. It may be understood too thus: I am as yet in this frail flesh, even as you are, until I die and rise again. He was with them after His resurrection, by bodily presence, not by participation of human frailty. These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you (Lc 24,44). He says to His disciples after His resurrection; meaning, while I was in mortal flesh, as you are. He was in the same flesh then with them, but not subject to the same mortality. But there is another Divine Presence unknown to mortal senses, of which He said, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world (Mt 28,20).
This is not the presence meant by, A little while I am with you; for it is not a little while to the end of the world: or even if it is a little while, because that in the eye of God, a thousand years are as one day, yet what follows shows that it is not what our Lord is here alluding to; for He adds, Whither I go you cannot follow Me now. At the end of the world they were to follow Him, whither He went; as He said below; Father, I will that they be with Me, where I am
ORIGEN. But may there not be a deeper meaning in the words, yet a little while &c. After a little while He was not with them. In what sense not with them? Not because He was not with them according to the flesh, in that He was taken from them, was brought before Pilate, was crucified, descended into hell: but because they all forsook Him, fulfilling His prophecy: All you shall be offended because of Me this night. He was not with them, because He only dwells with those who are worthy of Him. But though they thus wandered from Jesus for a little while, it was only for a little while; they soon sought Him again. Peter wept bitterly after his denial of Jesus, and by his tears sought Him: and therefore it follows, you shall seek Me, and as I said to the Jews, whither I go, you cannot follow Me now. To seek Jesus, is to seek the Word, wisdom, righteousness, truth, all which is Christ. To His disciples therefore who wish to follow Him, not in a bodily sense, as the ignorant think, but in the way He ordains, Whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. Our Lord said, Whither I go you cannot follow Me now. For though they wished to follow the Word, and to confess Him, they were not yet strong enough to do so; The Spirit was not yet given to them, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
AUG. Or He means that they were not yet fit to follow Him to death for righteousness' sake. For how could they, when they were not ripe for martyrdom? Or how could they follow our Lord to immortality, they who v ere to die, and not to rise again till the end of the world? Or how could tines follow Him to the bosom of the Father, when none could partake of that felicity, but they whose love was perfected? When He told the Jews this, He did not add now. But the disciples, though they could not follow Him then, would be able to do so afterwards, and therefore He adds, So now I say to you.
ORIGEN. As if He said, I say it to you, but with the addition of now, The Jews, who He foresaw would die in their sins, would never be able to follow Him; but the disciples were unable only for a little time.
CHRYS. And therefore He said, little children; for He did not mean to speak to them, as He had to the Jews. you cannot follow Me now, He says, in order to rouse the love of His disciples. For the departure of loved friends kindles all our affection, and especially if they are going to a place where we cannot follow them. He purposely too speaks of His death, as a kind of translation, a happy removal to a place, where here mortal bodies do not enter
AUG. And now He teaches them how to fit themselves to follow. Him: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. But does not the old law say, you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lv 19,18)? Why then does He call it a new commandment? Is it because it strips us of the old man, and puts on us the new? That it renews the hearer, or rather the doer of it? Love does do this; but it is that love which our Lord distinguishes from the carnal affection: As I have loved you, that you also love one another. Not the love with which men love one another, but that of the children of the Most High God, w ho would be brethren of His only-begotten Son, and therefore love one another with that love with which He loved them, and would lead them to the fulfillment of their desires.
CHRYS. Or, as I have loved you: for My love has not been the payment of something owing to you, but had its beginning on My side. And you ought in like manner to do one another good, though you may not owe it.
AUG. But; do not think that that greater commandment, viz. that we: should love the Lord our God, is passed by. For, if we understand the two precepts aright, each is implied in the other. He who loves God cannot despise His commandment that he should love his neighbor; and he who loves his neighbor in a heavenly spiritual way, in the neighbor loves God. That is the love which our Lord distinguishes from all human love, when He adds, As I have loved you, what did He, in loving us, love, but God in us; not who was in us, but so that He might be? Wherefore let each of us so love the other, as that by this working of love, we make each other the habitations of God.
CHRYS. Passing over the miracles, which they were to perform, He makes love: the distinguishing mark of His followers; By this shall all men know that you are My disciples' if you have love one to another. This it is that evidences the saint or the disciple, as He calls him.
AUG. As if He said, Other gifts are shared with you by those who are not mine; birth, life, sense, reason, and such good things as belong alike to man and brutes; nay, and tongues, sacraments, prophecy, knowledge, faith, bestowing of goods upon the poor,; giving the body to be burned: but forasmuch as they have not charity, they are tinkling cymbals, they are nothing: nothing profits them.
Golden Chain 13312