Golden Chain 9632

vv. 32-37

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CHRYS. The Lord had said that we must love our enemies, but that you might not think this an exaggerated expression, regarding it solely as spoken to alarm them, he adds the reason, saying, For if you love them which love you, what thank have you? There are indeed several causes which produce love; but spiritual love exceeds them all. For nothing earthly engenders it, neither gain, nor kindness, nor nature, nor time, but it descends from heaven. But why wonder that it needs not kindness to excite it, when it is not even overcome of malice? A father indeed suffering wrong bursts the bands of love. A wife after a quarrel leaves her husband A son, if he sees his father come to a great age, is troubled. But Paul went to those who stoned him to do them good. Moses is stoned by the Jews, and prays for them. Let us then reverence spiritual love, for it is indissoluble. Reproving therefore those who were inclined to wax cold, he adds, For sinners even love those which love them. As if he said, Because I wish you to possess more than these, I do not advise you only to love your friends, but also your enemies. It is common to all to do good to those who do good to them. But he shows that he seeks something more than is the custom of sinners, who do good to their friends.

Hence it follows, And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thank have you?

THEOPHYL; But he not only condemns as unprofitable the love and kindness of sinners, but also the lending. As it follows, And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thank have you? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

AMBROSE; Now philosophy seems to divide justice into three parts; one towards God, which is called piety; another towards our parents, or the rest of mankind; a third to the dead, that the proper rites may be performed. But the Lord Jesus passing beyond the oracle of the law, and the heights of prophecy, extended the duties of piety to those also who have injured us, adding, But love your enemies.

CHRYS. Whereby you will confer more upon yourself than him. For he is beloved by a fellow servant, but you are made like to God. But it is a mark of the greatest virtue when we embrace with kindness those who wish to do us harm. Hence it follows, And do good. For as water, when cast upon a lighted furnace, extinguishes it, so also reason joined with gentleness. But what water is to fire, such is lowliness and meekness to wrath; and as fire is not extinguished by fire, so neither is anger soothed by anger.

GREG. NYSS. But man ought to shun that baneful anxiety with which he seeks from the poor man increase of his money and gold, exacting a profit of barren metals. Hence he adds, And lend, hoping for nothing again; &c. If a man should call the harsh calculation of interest, theft, or homicide, he will not err. For what is the difference, whether a man by digging under a wall become possessed of property, or possess it unlawfully by the compulsory rate of interest?

BASIL; Now this mode of avarice is rightly called in the Greek, from producing, because of the fruitfulness of the evil. Animals in course of time grow up and produce, but interest as soon as it is born begins to bring forth. Animals which bring forth most rapidly cease soonest from breeding, but the money of the avaricious goes on increasing with time. Animals when they transfer their bringing forth to their own young, themselves cease to breed, but the money of the covetous both produces an increase, and renews the capital. Touch not then the destructive monster. For what advantage that the poverty of today is escaped, if it falls upon us repeatedly, and is increased? Reflect then how can you restore yourself? Whence shall your money be so multiplied as that it will partly relieve your want, partly refresh your capital,, and besides bring forth interest? But you say, How shall I get my living? I answer, work, serve, last of all, beg; any thing is more tolerable than borrowing upon interest. But you say, what is that lending to which the hope of repayment is not attached? Consider the excellence of the words, and you wilt admire the mercifulness of the author. When you are about to give to a poor man from regard to divine charity, it is both a lending and a gift; a gift indeed, because no return is hoped for; lending, because of the beneficence of God, who restores it in its turn. Hence it follows, And great shall be your reward. Do you not wish the Almighty to be bound to restore to you? Or, should He make some rich citizen your security, do you accept him, but reject God standing as security for the poor?

CHRYS. Observe the wonderful nature of lending, one receives and another binds himself for his debts, giving a hundred fold at the present time, and in the future eternal life.

AMBROSE; How great the reward of mercy which is received into the privilege of divine adoption! For it follows, And you shall be the sons of the Highest. Follow then mercy, that you may obtain grace. Widely spread is the mercy of God; He pours His rain upon the unthankful, the fruitful earth refuses not its increase to the evil. Hence it follows, For he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil.

THEOPHYL; Either by giving them temporal gifts, or by inspiring His heavenly gifts with a wonderful grace.

CYRIL; Great then is the praise of mercy. For this virtue makes us like to God, and imprints upon our souls certain signs as it were of a heavenly nature. Hence it follows, Be you then merciful, as your heavenly Father also is merciful.

ATHAN; That is to say, that we beholding His mercies, what good things we do should do them not with regard to men, but to Him, that we may obtain our rewards from God, not from men.

vv. 37-38

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AMBROSE; The Lord added, that we must not readily judge others, lest when conscious of guilt yourself, you should be compelled to pass sentence upon another.

CHRYS. Judge not your superior, that is, you a disciple must not judge your master; nor a sinner the innocent. You must not blame them, but advise and correct with love; neither must we pass judgment in doubtful and indifferent matters, which bear no resemblance to sin, or which are not serious or forbidden.

CYRIL; He here expresses that worst inclination of our thoughts or hearts, which is the first beginning and origin of a proud disdain. For although it becomes men to look into themselves and walk after God, this they do not, but look into the things of others, and while they forget their own passions, behold the infirmities of some, and make them a subject of reproach.

CHRYS. You will not easily find any one, whether a father of a family or an inhabitant of the cloister, free from this error. But these are the wiles of the tempter. For he who severely sifts the fault of others, will never obtain acquittal for his own. Hence it follows And you shall not be judged. For as the merciful and meek man dispels the rage of sinners, so the harsh and cruel adds to his own crimes.

GREG. NYSS. Be not then rash to judge harshly of your servants, lest you suffer the like. For passing judgment calls down a heavier condemnation; as it follows, Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. For he does not forbid judgment with pardon.

THEOPHYL; Now in a short sentence he concisely sums up all that he had enjoined with respect to our conduct towards our enemies, saying, Forgive, and you shall be forgiven, wherein he bids us forgive injuries, and show kindness, and our sins shall be forgiven us, and we shall receive eternal life.

CYRIL; But that we shall receive more abundant recompense from God, who gives bountifully to those who love him, he explains as follows, Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom.

THEOPHYL. As if he says, As when you wish to measure meal without sparing, you press it down, shake it together, and let it pour over abundantly; so the Lord will give a large and overflowing measure into your bosom.

AUG. But he says, shall they give, because through the merits of those to whom they have given even a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, shall they be thought worthy to receive a heavenly reward. It follows, For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

BASIL; For according to the same measure with which each one of you metes, that is, in doing good works or sinning, will he receive reward or punishment.

THEOPHYL. But some one will put the subtle question, "If the return is made over abundantly, how is it the same measure?" to which we answer, that He said not, "In just as great a measure shall it be measured to you again, but in the same measure." "For he who has shown mercy, shall have mercy shown to him, and this is measuring again with the same measure; but our Lord spoke of the measure running over, because to such a one He will show mercy a thousand times. So also in judging; for he that judges and afterwards is judged receives the same measure. But as far as he was judged the more severely that he judged one like to himself, was the measure running over.

CYRIL; But the Apostle explains this when he says, He who sows sparingly, (that is, scantily, and with a niggardly hand,) shall also reap sparingly, (that is, not abundantly,) and he who sows blessings, shall reap also blessings, that is, bountifully. But if a man has not, and performs not, he is not guilty. For a man is accepted in that which he has, not in that which he has not.

vv. 39-42

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CYRIL; The Lord added to what had gone before a very necessary parable, as it is said, And he spoke a parable to them, for His disciples were the future teachers of the world, and it therefore became them to know the way of a virtuous life, having their minds illuminated as it were by a divine brightness, that they should not be blind leaders of the blind. And then he adds, Can the blind lead the blind? But if any should chance to attain to an equal degree of virtue with their teachers, let them stand in the measure of their teachers, and follow their footsteps.

Hence it follows, The disciple is not above his master. Hence also Paul says, Be you also followers of me, as I am of Christ. Since Christ therefore judged not, why judge you? for He came not to judge the world, but to show mercy.

THEOPHYL. Or else, If you judge another, and in the very same way sin yourself, are not you like to the blind leading the blind? For how can you lead him to good when you also yourself commit sin? For the disciple is not above his master. If therefore you sin, who think yourself a master and guide, where will he be who is taught and led by you? For he will be the perfect disciple who is as his master.

THEOPHYL; Or the sense of this sentence depends upon the former, in which we are enjoined to give alms, and forgive injuries. If, says He, anger has blinded you against the violent, and avarice against the grasping, how can you with your corrupt heart cure his corruption? If even your Master Christ, who as God might revenge His injuries, chose rather by patience to render His persecutors more merciful, it is surely binding on His disciples, who are but men, to follow the same rule of perfection.

AUG. Or, He has added the words, Can the blind, lead the blind, in order that they, might not expect to receive from the Levites that measure of which He says, They shall give into your bosom, because they gave tithes to them. And these He calls blind, because they received not the Gospel, that the people might the rather now begin to hope for that reward through the disciples of the Lord, whom wishing to point out as His imitators, He added, The disciple is not above his master.

THEOPHYL. But the Lord introduces another parable taken from the same figure, as follows, but why see you the mote (that is, the slight fault) which is in your brother's eye, but the beam which is in your own eye (that is, your great sin) you regard not?

THEOPHYL; Now this has reference to the previous parable, in which He forewarned them that the blind cannot be led by the blind, that is, the sinner corrected by the sinner. Hence it is said, Or, how can you say to your brother, Brother let me cast out the mote that is in your eye, if you see not the beam that is in your own eye?

CYRIL; As if He said, How can he who is guilty of grievous sins, (which He calls the beam,) condemn him who has sinned only slightly, or even in some cases not at all? For this the mote signifies.

THEOPHYL. But these words are applicable to all, and especially to teachers, who while they punish the least sins of those who are put under them, leave their own unpunished. Wherefore the Lord calls them hypocrites, because to this end judge they the sins of others, that they themselves might seem just. Hence it follows, You hypocrite, first cast the beam out of your own eye, &c.

CYRIL; That is to say, first show yourself clean from great sins, and then afterwards shall you give counsel to your neighbor, who is guilty only of slight sins.

BASIL; In truth, self knowledge seems the most important of all. For not only the eye, looking at outward things, fails to exercise its sight upon itself, but our understanding also, though very quick in apprehending the sin of another, is slow to perceive its own defects.

vv. 43-45

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THEOPHYL; Our Lord continues the words which He had begun against the hypocrites, saying, For a good tree brings not forth corrupt fruit; i.e. as if He says, If you would have a true and unfeigned righteousness, what you set forth in words make up also in works, for the hypocrite though he pretends to be good is not good, who does evil works; and the innocent though he be blamed, is not therefore evil, who does good works.

TITUS BOS. But take not these words to thyself as an encouragement to idleness, for the tree is moved conformably to its nature but you have the exercise of free will; and every barren tree has been ordained for some good, but you were created to the good work of virtue.

ISIDORE PELEUS; He does not then exclude repentance, but a continuance in evil, which as long as it is evil cannot bring forth good fruit, but being converted to virtue, will yield abundance. But what nature is to the tree, our affections are to us. If then a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, how shall a corrupt heart?

CHRYS. But although the fruit is caused by the tree, yet, it brings to us the knowledge of the tree, because the distinctive nature of the tree is made evident by the fruit, as it follows, For every tree is know by its fruit.

CYRIL; Each man's life also will be a criterion of his character. For not by extrinsic ornaments and pretended humility is the beauty of true happiness discovered, but by those things which a man does; of which he gives an illustration, adding, For of thorns men do not gather figs.

AMBROSE; On the thorns of this world the fig cannot be found, which as being better in its second fruit, is well fitted to be a similitude of the resurrection. Either because, as you read, The fig trees have put forth their green figs, that is, the unripe and worthless fruit came first in the Synagogue. Or because our life is imperfect in the flesh, perfect in the resurrection, and therefore we ought to cast far from us worldly cares, which eat into the mind and scorch up the soul, that by diligent culture we may obtain the perfect fruits. This therefore has reference to the world and the resurrection, the next to the soul and the body, as it follows, Nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. Either because no one living in sin obtains fruit to his soul, which like the grape nearest the ground is rotten, on the higher branches becomes ripe. Or because no one can escape the condemnations of the flesh, but he whom Christ has redeemed, Who as a grape hung on the tree.

THEOPHYL; Or, I think the thorns and bramble are the cares of the world and the prickings of sin, but the figs and the grapes are the sweetness of a new life and the warmth of love, but the fig is not gathered from the thorns nor the grape from the bramble, because the mind still debased by the habits of the old man may pretend to, but cannot bring forth the fruits of the new man. But we must know, that as the fruitful palm tree is enclosed and supported by a hedge, and the thorn bearing fruit not its own, preserves it for the use of man, so the words and acts of the wicked wherein they serve the good are not done by the wicked themselves, but by the wisdom of God working upon them.

CYRIL; But having shown that the good and the bad man may be discerned by their works as a tree by its fruits, he now sets forth the same thing by another figure, saying, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth that which is evil.

THEOPHYL; The treasure of the heart is the same as the root of the tree. He therefore who has in his heart the treasure of patience and perfect love, brings forth the best fruits, loving his enemy, and doing the other things which have been taught above. But he who keeps a bad treasure in his heart does the contrary to this.

BASIL; The quality of the words shows the heart from which they proceed, plainly manifesting the inclination of our thoughts. Hence it follows, For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

CHRYS. For it is a natural consequence when wickedness abounds within, that wicked words are breathed as far as the mouth; and therefore when you hear of a man uttering abominable things, do not suppose that there lies only so much wickedness in him as is expressed in his words, but believe the fountain to be more copious than the stream.

THEOPHYL; By the speaking of the mouth the Lord signifies all things, which by word, or deed, or thought, we bring forth from the heart. For it is the manner of the Scripture to put words for deeds.

vv. 46-49

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THEOPHYL; Lest any one should vainly flatter himself with the words, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, as if words only and not rather works were required of a Christian, our Lord adds the following, But why call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? As if He said, Why do you boast of sending forth the leaves of a right confession, and show forth no fruit of good works.

CYRIL; But Lordship both in name and reality belongs only to the Highest Nature.

ATHAN. This is not then the word of man, but the Word of God, manifesting His own birth from the Father, for He is the Lord Who is born of the Lord alone. But fear not the duality of Persons, for they are not separate in nature.

CYRIL; But the advantage which arises from the keeping of the commandments, or the loss from disobedience, he shows as follows; Whosoever comes to me, and hears my sayings, he is like to a man who built his house upon a rock, &c.

THEOPHYL; The rock is Christ. He digs deep; by the precepts of humility He plucks out all earthly things from the hearts of the faithful, lest they should serve God from regard to their temporal good.

BASIL; But lay your foundations upon, a rock, that is, lean upon the faith of Christ, so as to persevere immovable in adversity, whether it come from man or God.

THEOPHYL; Or the foundation of the house is the resolution to live a good life, which the perfect hearer firmly lays in fulfilling the commandments of God.

AMBROSE; Or, He teaches that the obedience to heavenly precepts is the foundation of all virtue, by means of which this our house can be moved neither by the torrent of pleasures, nor by the violence of spiritual wickedness, neither by the storms of this world, nor by the cloudy disputations of heretics; hence it follows, But the flood came, &c.

THEOPHYL; A flood comes in three ways, either by unclean spirits, or wicked men, or the very restlessness of mind or body; and as far as men trust in their own strength they fall away, but as long as they cling to the immovable rock they cannot even be shaken.

CHRYS. The Lord also shows us that faith profits a man nothing, if his manner of life be corrupt. Hence it follows, But he that hears and does not, is like a man, that without a foundation built an house upon the earth, &c.

THEOPHYL; The house of the devil is the world which lies in wickedness, which he builds upon the earth, because those who obey him he drags down from heaven to earth; he builds without foundation, for sin has no foundation, standing not by its own nature, for evil is without substance, which yet whatever it is, grows up in the nature of good. But because the foundation is called so from fundus, we may not unfitly understand that fundamentum is placed here for fundus. As then he who is fallen into a well is kept at the bottom of the well, so the soul falling away remains stationary, as it were, at the very bottom, as long as it continues in any measure of sin. But not content with the sin into which it is fallen, while daily sinking into worse, it can find no bottom, as it were, in the well to which it may fix itself. But every kind of temptation increasing, both the really bad and the feignedly good become worse, until at last they come to everlasting punishment Hence it follows, Against which the stream did beat vehemently. By the force of the stream may be understood the trial of the last judgment, when both houses being finished, the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life eternal.

CYRIL; Or they build upon the earth without foundation, who upon the quicksand of doubt, which relates to opinion, lay the foundation of their spiritual building, which a few drops of temptation wash away.

AUG. Now this long discourse of our Lord, Luke begins in the same way as Matthew; for each says, Blessed are the poor. Then many things which follow in the narration of each are like, and finally the conclusion of the discourse is found to be altogether the same, I mean with respect to the men who build upon the rock and the sand. It might then easily be supposed that Luke has inserted the same discourse of our Lord, and yet has left out some sentences which Matthew has kept, and likewise put in others which Matthew has not; were it not that Matthew says the discourse was spoken by our Lord on the mountain, but Luke on the plain by our Lord standing. It is not however thought likely from this that these two discourses are separated by a long course of time, because both before and after both have related some things like or the same. It may however have happened that our Lord was at first on a higher part of the mountain with His disciples alone, and that then he descended with them from the mount, that is, from the summit of the mountain to the flat place, that is, to some level ground, which was on the side of the mountain, and was able to hold large multitudes, and that there He stood until the crowds were gathered together to Him, and afterwards when He sat down His disciples came nearer, and to them, and the rest of the multitude who were present, He held the same discourse.

Catena aurea luke 7

vv. 1-10

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TITUS BOST. When He had strengthened His disciples by more perfect teaching, He goes to Capernaum to work miracles there; as it is said, When he had ended all his sayings, he entered into Capernaum.

AUG. Here we must understand that He did not enter before He had ended these sayings, but it is not mentioned what space of time intervened between the termination of His discourse, and His entering into Capernaum. For in that interval the leper was cleansed whom Matthew introduced in his proper place.

AMBROSE; But having finished His teaching, He rightly instructs them to follow the example of His precepts. For straightway the servant of a Gentile centurion is presented to the Lord to be healed. Now the Evangelist, when he said that the servant was about to die, did not err, because he would have died had he not been healed by Christ.

EUSEB. Although that centurion was strong in battle, and the prefect of the Roman soldiers, yet because his particular attendant lay sick at his house, considering what wonderful things the Savior had done in healing the sick, and judging that these miracles were performed by no human power, he sends to Him, as to God, not looking to the visible instrument by which He had intercourse with men; as it follows, And when he heard of Jesus, he sent to him, &c.

AUG. How then will that: be true which Matthew relates, A certain centurion came to him, seeing that he himself did not come? unless upon careful consideration we suppose that Matthew made use of a general mode of expression. For if the actual arrival is frequently said to be through the means of others, much more may the coming be by others. Not then without reason, (the centurion having gained access to our Lord through others,) did Matthew, wishing to spear; briefly, say that this man himself came to Christ, rather than those by whom he sent his message, for the more he believed the nearer he came.

CHRYS. How again does Matthew tell us that the centurion said, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, while Luke says here, that he beseeches Him that He would come. Now it seems to me that Luke sets before us the flatteries of the Jews. For we may believe that when the centurion wished to depart, the Jews drew him back, enticing him, saying, We will go and bring him. Hence also their prayers are full of flattery, for it follows, But when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying that he was worthy. Although it became them to have said, He himself was willing to come and supplicate You, but we detained him, seeing the affliction, and the body which was lying in the house, and so to have drawn out the greatness of his faith; but they would not for envy reveal the faith of the man, lest He should seem some great one to whom the prayers were addressed.

But wherein Matthew represents the centurion to be not an Israelite, while Luke says, he has built us a synagogue, there is no contradiction, for he might not have been a Jew, and yet built a synagogue.

THEOPHYL; But herein they show, that as by a church, so also by a synagogue, they were wont to mean not only the assembly of the faithful, but also the place where they assembled.

EUSEB. And the elders of the Jews indeed demand favors for a small sum spent in the service of the synagogue, but the Lord not for this, but a higher reason, manifested Himself, wishing in truth to beget a belief in all men by His own power, as it follows, Then Jesus went with them.

AMBROSE; Which certainly He did not do, because He was unable to heal when absent, but that He might set them an example of imitating His humility. He would not go to the son of the nobleman, lest He should seem thereby to have respected his riches; He went immediately here, that He might not seem to have despised the low estate of a centurion's servant. But the centurion laying aside his military pride puts on humility, being both willing to believe and eager to honor; as it follows, And when he was not far off, he sent to him, saying, Trouble not yourself: for I am not worthy your, &c. For by the power not of man, but of God, he supposed that health was given to man. The Jews indeed alleged his worthiness; but he confessed himself unworthy not only of the benefit, but even of receiving the Lord under his roof; For I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.

CHRYS. For as soon as he was freed from the annoyance of the Jews, he then sends, saying, Think not that it was from negligence I came not to You, but I counted myself unworthy to receive You in my house.

AMBROSE; But Luke well says, that friends were sent by the centurion to meet our Lord, lest by his own coming he might seem both to embarrass our Lord, and to have called for a requital of good offices. Hence it follows, Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come to you, but say in a word and my servant shall be healed.

CHRYS. Here observe that the centurion held a right opinion concerning the Lord; he said not, pray, but, command; and in doubt lest He should from humility refuse him, he adds, For I also am a man set under authority, &c.

THEOPHYL; He says that he though a man subject to the power of the tribune or governor, yet has command over his inferiors, that it might be implied that much more is He who is God, able not only by the presence of His body, but by the services of His angels, to fulfill whatever He wishes. For the weakness of the flesh or the hostile powers were to be subdued both by the word of the Lord and the ministry of the angels. And to my servant, Do this, &c.

CHRYS. We must here remark, that this word, Fac, signifies a command given to a servant. So God when He wished to create man, said not to the Only-begotten, "Make man," but, Let us make man, that by the form of unity in the words he might make manifest the equality of the agents. Because then the centurion considered in Christ the greatness of His dominion, therefore said He, say in a word. For I also say to my servant.

But Christ blames him not, but confirmed his wishes, as it follows, When Jesus heard these things, he marveled.

THEOPHYL; But who had wrought this very faith in him, save He who marveled? But supposing another had done it, why should He marvel who fore knew it? Because then the Lord marvels, it signifies that we must marvel. For all such feelings when they are spoken of God, are the tokens not of a wonder-struck mind, but of a teaching master.

CHRYS. But that you might see plainly that the Lord said this for the instruction of others, the Evangelist wisely explains it, adding, Verily I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

AMBROSE; And indeed if you read it thus, "In none in Israel have I found so great faith," the meaning is simple and easy. But if according to the Greek, "Not even in Israel have I found so great faith," faith of this kind is preferred even to that of the more elect, and those that see God.

THEOPHYL; But he speaks not of Patriarchs and Prophets in times far back, but of the men of the present age to whom the faith of the centurion is preferred, because they were instructed in the precepts of the Law and the Prophets, but he with no one to teach him of his own accord believed.

AMBROSE; The faith of the master is proved, and the health of the servant established, as it follows, And they that were sent returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick. It is possible then that the good deed of a master may advantage his servants, not only through the merit of faith, but the practice of discipline.

THEOPHYL; Matthew explains these things more fully, saying, that when our Lord said to the centurion, Go your way, and as you have believed, so be it done to you, the servant was healed in the self-same hour. But it is the manner of the blessed Luke, to abridge or even purposely to pass by whatever he sees plainly set forth by the other Evangelists, but what he knows to be omitted by them, or briefly touched upon, to more carefully explain.

AMBROSE; Mystically, by the centurion's servant is signified that the Gentile people who were enthralled by the chain of heavenly bondage, and diseased with deadly passions, are to be healed by the mercy of the Lord.

THEOPHYL; But the centurion, whose faith is preferred to Israel, represents the elect from the Gentiles, who as it were attended by their hundred soldiers, are exalted by their perfection of spiritual virtues. For the number hundred, which is transferred from the left to the right, is frequently put to signify the celestial life. These then must pray to the Lord for those who ho are still oppressed with fear, in the spirit of bondage. But we of the Gentiles who believe can not ourselves come to the Lord, whom we are unable to see in the flesh, but ought to approach by faith; we must send the elders of the Jews, that is, we must by our suppliant entreaties gain as patrons the greatest men of the Church, who have gone before us to the Lord, who bearing us witness that we have a care to build up the Church, may intercede for our sins. It is well said that Jesus was not far from the house, for his salvation is nigh to them that fear him, and he who rightly uses the law of nature, in that he does the things which he knows to be good, approaches nigh to Him who is good.

AMBROSE, But the centurion wished not to trouble Jesus, for Whom the Jewish people crucified, the Gentiles desire to keep inviolate from injury, and (as touching a mystery) he saw that Christ was not yet able to pierce the hearts of the Gentiles.

THEOPHYL; The soldiers and servants who obey the centurion, are the natural virtues which many who come to the Lord will bring with them in great numbers.

THEOPHYL; Or in another way. The centurion must be understood as one who stood foremost among many in wickedness, as long as he possesses many things in this life, i.e. is occupied with many affairs or concerns. But he has a servant, the irrational part of the soul, that is, the irascible and concupiscent part. And he speaks to Jesus, the Jews acting as mediators, that is, the thoughts and words of confession, and immediately he received his servant whole.

Golden Chain 9632