Golden Chain 12622

vv. 22-27

12622 Jn 6,22-27

CHRYS. Our Lord, though He did not actually show Himself to the multitude walking on the sea, yet gave them the opportunity of inferring what had taken place; The day following, the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto His disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples were gone away alone. What was this but to suspect that He had walked across the sea, on His going away? For He could not have gone over in a ship, as there was only one there, that in which His disciples had entered; and He had not gone in with them.

AUG. Knowledge of the miracle was conveyed to them indirectly. Other ships had come to the place where they had eaten bread; in these they went after Him; However there came other boats from Tiberias, nigh to the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks. When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither His disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.

CHRYS. Yet after so great a miracle, they did not ask Him how He had passed over, or show any concern about it: as appears from what follows; And when they had found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, Rabbi, when came you hither? Except we say that this when meant how. And observe their lightness of mind. After saying, This is that Prophet, and wishing to take Him by force to make Him king, when they find Him, nothing of the kind is thought of.

AUG. So He Who had fled to the mountain, mixes and converses with the multitude. Only just now they would have kept Him, and made Him king. But after the sacrament of the miracle, He begins to discourse, and fills their souls with His word, whose bodies Ho had satisfied with bread.

ALCUIN. He who set an example of declining praise, and earthly power, sets teachers also an example of deliverance in preaching.

CHRYS. Kindness and lenity are not always expedient. To the indolent or insensible disciple the spur must be applied; and this the Son of God does. For when the multitude comes with soft speeches, Rabbi, when came you hither? He shows them that He did not desire the honor that comes from man, by the severity of His answer, which both exposes the motive on which they acted, and rebukes it. Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

AUG. As if He said, you seek Me to satisfy the flesh, not the Spirit.

CHRYS. After the rebuke, however, He proceeds to teach them: Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life; meaning, you seek for temporal food, whereas I only fed your bodies, that you might seek the more diligently for that food, which is not temporary, but contains eternal life.

ALCUIN. Bodily food only supports the flesh of the outward man, and must be taken not once for all, but daily; whereas spiritual food remains for ever, imparting perpetual fullness, and immortality.

AUG. Under the figure of food He alludes to Himself you seek Me, He said, for the sake of something else; seek Me for My own sake.

CHRYS. But, inasmuch much as some who wish to live in sloth, pervert this precept: Labor not, &c. it is well to notice what Paul says, Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs. And he himself too, when he resided with Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth, worked with his hand. By saying, Labor not for the meat which perishes, our Lord does not mean to tell us to be idle; but to work, and give alms. This is that meat which perishes not; to labor for the meat which perishes, is to be devoted to the interests of this life. Our Lord saw that the multitude had no thought of believing, and only wished to fill their bellies, without working; and this He justly called the meat which perishes.

AUG. As He told the woman of Samaria above, If you knew Who it is that said to you, Give me to drink, you would have asked of Him, an He would have given you living water. So He says here, Which the Son of man shall give to you.

ALCUIN. When, through the hand of the priest, you receive the Body of Christ, think not of the priest which you see, but of the Priest you do not see. The priest is the dispenser of this food, not the author. The Son of man gives Himself to us, that we may abide in Him, and He in us. Do not conceive that Son of man to be the same as other sons of men: He stands alone in abundance of grace, separate and distinct from all the rest: for that Son of man is the Son of God, as it follows, For Him has God the Father sealed. To seal is to put a mark upon; so the meaning is, Do not despise Me because I am the Son of man, for I am the Son of man in such sort, as that the Father has sealed Me, i.e. given Me something peculiar, to the end that should not be confounded with the human race, but that the human race should be delivered by Me.

HILARY. A seal throws out a perfect impression of the stamp, at the same time that it takes in that impression. This is not a perfect illustration of the Divine nativity: for sealing supposes matter, different kinds of matter, the impression of harder upon softer. Yet He who was God Only-Begotten, and the Son of man only by the Sacrament of our salvation, makes use of it to express the Father's fullness as stamped upon Himself. He wishes to show the Jews He has the power of giving the eternal meat, because He contained in Himself the fullness of God.

CHRYS. Or sealed, i.e. sent Him for this purpose, viz. to bring us food; or, sealed, was revealed the Gospel by means of His witness.

ALCUIN. To take the passage mystically: on the day following, i.e. after the ascension of Christ, the multitude standing in good works, not lying in worldly pleasures, expects Jesus to come to them. The one ship is the one Church: the other ships which come besides, are the conventicles of heretics, who seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. Wherefore He well says, You seek Me, because you did eat of the loaves.

AUG. How many there are who seek Jesus, only to gain some temporary benefit. One man has a matter of business, in which he wants the assistance of the clergy; another is oppressed by a more powerful neighbor, and flies to the Church for refuge: Jesus is scarcely ever sought for Jesus' sake.

GREG. In their persons too our Lord condemns all those within the holy Church, who, when brought near to God by sacred Orders, do not seek the recompense of righteousness, but the interests of this present life. To follow our Lord, when filled with bread, is to use Holy Church as a means of livelihood; and to seek our Lord not for the miracle's sake. but for the loaves, is to aspire to a religious office, not with a view to increase of grace, but to add to our worldly means.

BEDE. They too seek Jesus, not for Jesus' sake, but for something else, who ask in their prayers not for eternal, but temporal blessings. The mystical meaning is, that the conventicles of heretics are without the company of Christ and His disciples. And other ships coming is the sudden growth of heresies. By the crowd, which saw that Jesus was not there, or His disciples, are designated those who seeing the errors of heretics, leave them and turn to the true faith.

vv. 28-34

12628 Jn 6,28-34

ALCUIN. They understood that the meat, which remains to eternal life, was the work of God: and therefore they ask Him what to do to work the work of God, i.e. obtain the meat: Then said they to Him, What shall we do that we might work the works of God?

BEDE. i.e. By keeping what commandments shall we be able to fulfill the law of God?

CHRYS. But they said this, not that they might learn, and do them, but to obtain from Him another exhibition of His bounty.

THEOPHYL. Christ, though He saw it would not avail, yet for the good of others afterwards, answered their question; and showed them, or rather the whole world, what was the work of God: Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.

AUG. He does not say, That you believe Him, but, that you believe in Him. For the devils believed Him, and did not believe in Him; and we believe Paul, but do not believe in Paul. To believe in Him is believing to love, believing to honor Him, believing to go to Him, and be made members incorporate of His Body. The faith, which God requires of us, is that which works by love. Faith indeed is distinguished from works by the Apostle, who says, That man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. But the works indeed which appear good, without faith in Christ, are not really so, not being referred to that end, which makes them good. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. And therefore our Lord would not separate faith from works, but said that faith itself was the doing the work of God; He said not, This is your work, but, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him: in order that he that glories might glory in the Lord.

AUG. To eat then that meat which endures to everlasting life, is to believe in Him. Why do you make ready your tooth and your belly? Only believe, and you have eaten already. As He called on them to believe, they still asked for miracles whereby to believe; They said therefore to Him, What sign show you then, that we may see and believe You? What do you work?

CHRYS. Nothing can be more unreasonable than their asking for another miracle, as if none had been given already. And they do not even leave the choice of the miracle to our Lord; but would oblige Him to give them just that sign, which was given to their fathers: Our fathers did eat manna in the desert.

ALCUIN. And to exalt the miracle of the manna they quote the Psalm, As it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

CHRYS. Whereas many miracles were performed in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the desert, they remembered this one the best of any. Such is the force of appetite. They do not mention this miracle as the work either of God, or of Moses, in order to avoid raising Him on the one hand to an equality with God, or lowering Him on the other by a comparison with Moses; but they take a middle ground, only saying, Our fathers did eat manna in the desert.

AUG. Or thus; Our Lord sets Himself above Moses, who did not dare to say that He gave the meat which perishes not. The multitude therefore remembering what Moses had done, and wishing for some greater miracle, say, as it were, you promise the meat which perishes not, and does not works equal to those Moses did. He gave us not barley loaves, but manna from heaven.

CHRYS. Our Lord might have replied, that He had done miracles greater than Moses: but it was not the time for such a declaration. One thing He desired, viz. to bring them to taste the spiritual meat: then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. Did not the manna come from heaven? True, but in what sense did it? The same in which the birds are called, the birds of heaven; and just as it is said in the Psalm, The Lord thundered out of heaven. He calls it the true bread, not because the miracle of the manna was false, but because it was the figure, not the reality. He does not say too, Moses gave it you not, but I: but He puts God for Moses, Himself for the manna.

AUG. As if He said, That manna was the type of this food, of which I just now spoke; and which all my. miracles refer to. You like my miracles, you despise what is signified by them. This bread which God gives, and which this manna represented, is the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read next, For the bread of God is He which comes down from hearer, and gives life to the world.

BEDE. Not to the physical world, but to men, its inhabitants.

THEOPHYL. He calls Himself the true bread, because the only-begotten Son of God, made man, was principally signified by the manna. For manna means literally, what is this? The Israelites were astonished at first on finding it, and asked one another what it was. And the Son of God, made man, is in an especial sense this mysterious manna, which we ask about, saying, What is this? How can the Son of God be the Son of man? How can one person consist of two natures?

ALCUIN. Who by the humanity, which was assumed, came down from heaven, and by the divinity, which assumed it, gives life to the world.

THEOPHYL. But this bread, being essentially life, (for He is the Son of the living Father,) in quickening all things, does but what is natural to Him to do. For as natural bread supports our weak flesh, so Christ, by the operations of the Spirit, gives life to the soul; and even incorruption to the body, (for at the resurrection the body will be made incorruptible.) Wherefore He says, that He gives life to the world.

CHRYS. Not only to the Jews, but to the whole world. The multitude, however, still attached a low meaning to His words: Then said they to Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. They say, Give us this bread, not, Ask Your Father to give it us: whereas He had said that His Father gave this bread.

AUG. As the woman of Samaria, when our Lord told her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall never thirst, thought He meant natural water, and said, Sir, give me this water, that she might never be in want of it again: in the same way these say, Give us this bread, which refreshes, supports, and fails not.

vv. 35-40

12635 Jn 6,35-40

CHRYS. Our Lord now proceeds to set forth mysteries; and first speaks of His Divinity: And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He does not say this of His body, for He speaks of that at the end; The bread that I will give you is My flesh. Here He is speaking of His Divinity. The flesh is bread, by virtue of the Word; this bread is heavenly bread, on account of the Spirit which dwells in it.

THEOPHYL. He does not say, I am the bread of nourishment, but of life, for, whereas all things brought death, Christ has quickened us by Himself. But the life here, is not our common life, but that which is not cut short by death: He that comes to Me shall never hunger; and, He that believes in Me shall never thirst.

AUG. He that comes to Me, i.e. that believes in Me, shall never hunger, has the same meaning as shall never thirst; both signifying that eternal society, where there is no want.

THEOPHYL. Or, shall never hunger or thirst, i.e. shall never be wearied of hearing the word of God, and shall never thirst as to the understanding: as though He had not the water of baptism, and the sanctification of the Spirit.

AUG. You desire bread from heaven: but, though you have it before you, you eat it not. This is what I told you: But I said to you, that you also have seen Me, and believe not.

ALCUIN. As if He said, I did not say what I did to you about the bread, because I thought you would eat it, but rather to convict you of unbelief. I say, that you see Me, and believe not.

CHRYS. Or, I said to you, refers to the testimony of the Scriptures, of which He said above, They are they which testify of Me; and again, I am come in My Father's name, and you receive Me not. That you have seen Me, is a silent allusion to His miracles.

AUG. But, because you have seen Me, and believed not, I have not therefore lost the people of God: All that the Father gives Me, shall come to Me; and him that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out.

BEDE. All, He said, absolutely, to show the fullness of the number who should believe. These are they which the Father gives the Son, when, by His secret inspiration, He makes them believe in the Son.

ALCUIN. Whomsoever therefore the Father draws to belief in Me, he, by faith, shall come to Me, that he may be joined to Me. And those, who in the steps of faith and good works, shall come to Me, I will in no wise cast out; i.e. in the secret habitation of a pure conscience, he shall dwell with Me, and at the last I will receive him to everlasting felicity.

AUG. That inner place, whence there is no casting out, is a great sanctuary, a secret chamber, where is neither weariness, or the bitterness of evil thoughts, or the cross of pain and temptation: of which it is said, Enter you into the joy of your Lord.

CHRYS. The expression, that the Father gives Me, shows that it is no accident whether a man believes or not, and that belief is not the work of human cogitation, but requires a revelation from on high, and a mind devout enough to receive the revelation. Not that they are free from blame, whom the Father does not give, for they are deficient even in that which lies in their own power, the will to believe. This is a virtual rebuke to their unbelief, as it shows that whoever does not believe in Him, transgresses the Father's will. Paul, however, says, that He gives them up to the Father: When He shall have given up the kingdom to God, even the Father. But as the Father, in giving, does not take from Himself, so neither does the Son when He gives up. The Son is said to give up to the Father, because we are brought to the Father by Him. And of the Father at the same time we read, By Whom you were called to the fellowship of His Son. Whoever then, our Lord says, comes to Me, shall be saved, for to save such I took up flesh: For I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. But what? Have you one will, He another? No, certainly. Mark what He says afterwards; And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes in Him, should have everlasting life. And this is the Son's will too; For the Son quickens whom He will. He says then, I came to do nothing but what the Father wills, for I have no will distinct from My Father's: all things that the Father has are Mine. But this not now: He reserves these higher truths for the end of His ministry.

AUG. This is the reason why He does not cast out those who come to Him. For I came down from, heaven not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. The soul departed from God, because it was proud. Pride casts us out, humility restores us. When a physician in the treatment of a disease, cures certain outward symptoms, but not the cause which produces them, his cure is only temporary. So long as the cause remains, the disease may return. That the cause then of all diseases, i.e. pride, might be eradicated, the Son of God humbled Himself. Why are you proud, O man? The Son of God humbled Himself for you. It might shame you, perhaps, to imitate a humble man; but imitate at least a humble God. And this is the proof of His humility: I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. Pride does its own will; humility the will of God.

HILARY. Not that He does what He does not wish. He fulfills obediently His Father's will, wishing also Himself to fulfill that will.

AUG. For this very reason therefore, I will not cast out Him that comes to Me; because I came not to do Mine own will. I came to teach humility, by being humble Myself. He that comes to Me, is made a member of Me, and necessarily humble, because He will not do His own will, but the will of God; and therefore is not cast out. He was cast out, as proud; he returns to Me humble, he is not sent away, except for pride again; he who keeps his humility, fails not from the truth. And further, that He does not cast out such, because He came not to do His will, He shows when He says, And this is the Father's will which has sent Me, that of all which He has given Me, I should lose nothing. Every one of an humble mind is given to Him: It is not the will of your Fatter, that one of these little ones should perish. The swelling ones may perish; of the little ones none can; for except you be as a little child, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

AUG. They therefore who by God s unerring providence are foreknown, and predestined, called, justified, glorified, even before their new birth, or before they are born at all, are already the sons of God, and cannot possibly perish; these are they who truly come to Christ. By Him there is given also perseverance in good to the end; which is given only to those who will not perish. Those who do not persevere will perish.

CHRYS. I should lose nothing; He lets them know, he does not desire his own honor, but their salvation. After these declarations, I will in no wise cast out, and I should lose nothing, He adds, But should raise it up at the last day. In the general resurrection the wicked will be cast out, according to Matthew, Take him, and cast him into outer darkness. And, Who is able to cast both soul and body into hell. He often brings in mention of the resurrection for this purpose: viz. to warn men not to judge of God's providence from present events, but to carry on their ideas to another world.

AUG. See how the twofold resurrection is expressed here. He who comes to Me, shall forthwith rise again; by becoming humble, and a member of Me. But then He proceeds; But I will raise him up at the last day. To explain the words, All that the Father has given Me, and, I should lose nothing, He adds; And this is the will of Him that has' sent Me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes in Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up on the last day. Above He said, Whoso hears My word, and believes in Him that sent Me: now it is, Every one which sees the Son, and believes in Him. He does not say, believe in the Father, because it is the same thing to believe in the Father, and in the Son; for us the Father has life in Himself, even so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself, and again, That whoso sees the Son and believes on Him, should hare everlasting life; i.e. by believing, by passing over to life, as at the first resurrection. But this is only the first resurrection, He alludes to the second when He says, And I will raise him up at the last day.

vv. 41-46

12641 Jn 6,41-46

CHRYS. The Jews, so long as they thought to get food for their carnal eating, had no misgivings; but when this hope was taken away, then, we read, the Jews murmured at Him because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. This was only a pretense. The real cause of their complaint was that they were disappointed in their expectation of a bodily feast. As yet however they reverenced Him, for His miracle; and only expressed their discontent by murmurs. What these were we read next: And they said, Is not this Jesus, the Son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that He said, I came down from heaven?

AUG. But they were far from being fit for that heavenly bread, and did not hunger for it. For they had not that hunger of the inner man.

CHRYS. It is evident that they did not yet know of His miraculous birth: for they call Him the Son of Joseph. Nor are they blamed for this. Our Lord does not reply, I am not the Son of Joseph: for the miracle of His birth would have overpowered them. And if the birth according to the flesh were above their belief, how much more that higher and ineffable birth.;

AUG. He took man's flesh upon Him, but not after the manner of men; for, His Father being in heaven, He chose a mother upon earth, and was born of her without a father. The answer to the murmurers next follows: Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Murmur not among yourselves; as if to say, I know why you hunger not after this bread, and so cannot understand it, and do not seek it: No man can come to Me except the Father who has sent Me draw him. This is the doctrine of grace: none comes, except he be drawn. But whom the Father draws, and whom not, and why He draws one, and not another, presume not to decide, if you would avoid falling into error. Take the doctrine as it is given you: and, if you are not drawn, pray that you may be.

CHRYS, But here the Manichees attack us, asserting that nothing is in our own power. Our Lords words however do not destroy our free agency, but only show that we need Divine assistance. For He is speaking not of one who comes without the concurrence of his own will, but one who has many hindrances in the way of his coming.

AUG. Now if we are drawn to Christ without our own will, we believe without our own will; the will is not exercised, but compulsion is applied. But, though a man can enter the Church involuntarily, he cannot believe other than voluntarily; for with the heart man believes to righteousness. Therefore if he who is drawn, comes without his will, he does not believe; if he does not believe, he does not come. For we do not come to Christ, by running, or walking, but by believing, not by the motion of the body, but the will of the mind. You are drawn by your will. But what is it to be drawn by the will? Delight you in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desire. There is a certain craving of the heart, to which that heavenly bread is pleasant. If the Poet could say, "Trahit sua quemque voluptas," how much more strongly may we speak of a man being drawn to Christ, i.e. being delighted with truth, happiness, justice eternal life, all which is Christ? Have the bodily senses their pleasures, and has not the soul hers? Give me one who loves, who longs, who burns, who sighs for the source of his being and his eternal home; and he will know what I mean. But why did He say, Except my Father draw him? If we are to be drawn, let us be drawn by Him to whom His love said, Draw me, we will run after You. But let us see what is meant by it. The Father draws to the Son those who believe on the Son, as thinking that He has God for His Father. For the Father begat the Son equal to Himself; and whoso thinks and believes really and seriously that He on Whom He believes is equal to the Father, him the Father draws to the Son. Arius believed Him to be a creature; the Father drew not him. Thomas says, Christ is only a man. Because he so believes, the Father draws him not. He drew Peter who said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God; to whom accordingly it was told, For flesh and blood, has not revealed it to you, but My Father which is in heaven. That revelation is the drawing. For if earthly objects, when put before us, draw us; how much more shall Christ, when revealed by the Father? For what does the soul more long after than truth? But here men hunger, there they will be filled. Wherefore He adds, And I will raise him up at the last day: as if He said, He shall be filled with that, for which he now thirsts, at the resurrection of the dead; for I will raise him up.

AUG. Or the Father draws to the Son, by the works which He did by Him.

CHRYS. Great indeed is the Son's dignity; the Father draws men, and the Son raises them up. This is no division of works, but an equality of power. He then shows the way in which the Father draws. It is written in the Prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. You see the excellence of faith; that it cannot be learnt from men, or by the teaching of man, but only from God Himself. The Master sits, dispensing His truth to all, pouring out His doctrine to all. But if all are to be taught of God, how is it that some believe not? Because all here only means the generality, or, all that have the will.

AUG. Or thus, When a schoolmaster is the only one in a town, we say loosely, This man teaches all here to read; not that all learn of him, but that he teaches all who do learn. And in the same way we say that God teaches all men to come to Christ: not that all do come, but that no one comes in any other way.

AUG. All the men of that kingdom shall be taught of God; they shall hear nothing from men: for, though in this world what they hear with the outward ear is from men, yet what they understand is given them from within; from within is light and revelation. I force certain sounds into your ears, but unless He is within to reveal their meaning, how, O you Jews, can you acknowledge Me, you whom the Father has not taught?

BEDE. He uses the plural, In the Prophets, because all the Prophets being filled with one and the same spirit, their prophecies, though different, all tended to the same end; and with whatever any one of them says, all the rest agree; as with the prophecy of Joel, All shall be taught of God.

GLOSS. These words are not found in Joel, but something like them; Be glad then you children of Sion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you a Teacher (Jl 2,23). And more expressly in Isaiah, And all your children shall be taught of the Lord (Is 54,13).

CHRYS. An important distinction. All men before learnt the things of God through men; now they learn them through the Only Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.

AUG. All that are taught of God come to the Son, because they have heard and learnt from the Father of the Son: wherefore He proceeds, Every man that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to Me. But if every one that has heard and learnt of the Father comes, every one that has not heard of the Father has not learnt. For beyond the reach of the bodily senses is this school, in which the Father is heard, and men taught to come to the Son. Here we have not to do with the carnal ear, but the ear of the heart; for here is the Son Himself, the Word by which the Father teaches, and together with Him the Holy Spirit the operations of the three Persons being inseparable from each other. This is attributed however principally to the Father, because from Him proceeds the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore the grace which the Divine bounty imparts in secret to men's hearts, is rejected by none from hardness of heart: seeing it is given in the first instance, in order to take away hard-heartedness. Why then does He not teach all to come to Christ? Because those whom He teaches, He teaches in mercy; and those whom He teaches not, He teaches not in judgment. But if we say, that those, whom He teaches not, wish to learn, we shall be answered, Why then is it said, Will you not turn again, and quicken us? (Ps 84,7) If God does not make willing minds out of unwilling, why prays the Church, according to our Lord's command, for her persecutors? For no one can say, I believed, and therefore He called me: rather the preventing mercy of God called him, that he might believe.

AUG. Behold then how the Father draws; not by laying a necessity on man, but by teaching the truth. To draw, belongs to God: Every one that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to Me. What then? has Christ taught nothing? Not so. What if men saw not the Father teaching, but saw the Son. So then the Father taught, the Son spoke. As I teach you by My word, so the Father teaches by His Word. But He Himself explains the matter, if we read on: Not that any man has seen the Father, save He which is of God, He has seen the Father; as if He said, Do not when I tell you, Every man that has heard and learnt of the Father, say to yourselves, We have never seen the Father, and how then can we have learnt from Him? Hear Him then in Me. I know the Father, and am from Him, just as a word is from him who speaks it; i.e. not the mere passing sound, but that which remains with the speaker, and draws the hearer.

CHRYS. We are all from God. That which belongs peculiarly and principally to the Son, He omits the mention of, as being unsuitable to the weakness of His hearers.

vv. 47-51

12647 Jn 6,47-51

AUG. Our Lord wishes to reveal what He is; Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes in Me, has everlasting life. As if He said; He that believes in Me has Me: but what is it to have Me? It is to have eternal life: for the Word which was in the beginning with God is life eternal, and the life was the light of men. Life underwent death, that life might kill death.

CHRYS. The multitude being urgent for bodily food, and reminding Him of that which was given to their fathers, He tells them that the manna was only a type of that spiritual food which was now to be tasted in reality, I am that bread of life (Jn 6,48).

CHRYS. He calls Himself the bread of life, because He constitutes one life, both present, and to come.

AUG. And because they had taunted Him with the manna, He adds, Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead (Jn 6,49). Your fathers they are, for you are like them; murmuring sons of murmuring fathers. For in nothing did that people offend God more, than by their murmurs against Him. And therefore are they dead, because what they saw they believed, what they did not see they believed not, nor understood.

CHRYS. The addition, In the wilderness, is not put in without meaning, but to remind them how short a time the manna lasted; only till the entrance into the land of promise. And because the bread which Christ gave seemed inferior to the manna, in that the latter had come down from heaven, while the former was of this world, He adds, This is the bread which comes down from heaven.

AUG. This was the bread the manna typified, this was the bread the altar typified. Both the one and the other were sacraments, differing in symbol, alike in the thing signified. Hear the Apostle, They did all eat the same spiritual meat.

CHRYS. He then gives them a strong reason for believing that they were given for higher privileges than their fathers. Their fathers eat manna and were dead; whereas of this bread He says, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. The difference of the two is evident from the difference of their ends. By bread here is meant wholesome doctrine, and faith in Him, or His body: for these are the preservatives of the soul.

AUG. But are we, who eat the bread that comes down from heaven, relieved from death? From visible and carnal death, the death of the body, we are not: we shall die, even as they died. But from spiritual death which their fathers suffered, we are delivered. Moses and many, acceptable of God, eat the manna, and died not, because they understood that visible food in a spiritual sense, spiritually tasted it, and were spiritually filled with it. And we too at this day receive the visible food; but the Sacrament is one thing, the virtue of the Sacrament another. Many a one receives from the Altar, and perishes in receiving; eating and drinking his own damnation, as said the Apostle. To eat then the heavenly bread spiritually, is to bring to the Altar an innocent mind. Sins, though they be daily, are not deadly. Before you go to the Altar, attend to the prayer you repeat: Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. If you forgive, you are forgiven: approach confidently; it is bread, not poison. None then that eat of this bread, shall die. But we speak of the virtue of the Sacrament, not the visible Sacrament itself; of the inward, not of the outward eater.

ALCUIN. Therefore I say, He that eats this bread, dies not: I am the living bread which came down from heaven.

THEOPHYL. By becoming incarnate, He was not then first man, and afterwards assumed Divinity, as Nestorius fables.

AUG. The manna too came down from heaven; but the manna was shadow, this is substance.

ALCUIN. But men must be quickened by my life: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live, not only now by faith and righteousness, but for ever.

51b. - And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

AUG. Our Lord pronounces Himself to be bread, not only in respect of that Divinity, which feeds all things, but also in respect of that human nature, which was assumed by the Word of God: And the bread, He says, that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

BEDE. This bread our Lord then gave, when He delivered to His disciple the mystery of His Body and Blood, and offered Himself to God the Father on the altar of the cross. For the life of the world, i.e. not for the elements, but for mankind, who are called the world.

THEOPHYL. Which I shall give: this shows His power; for it shows that He was not crucified as a servant, in subjection to the Father, but of his own accord; for though He is said to have been given up by the Father, yet He delivered Himself up also. And observe, the bread which is taken by us in the mysteries, is not only the sign of Christ's flesh, but is itself the very flesh of Christ; for He does not say, The bread which I will give, is the sign of My flesh, but, is My flesh. The bread is by a mystical benediction conveyed in unutterable words, and by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, transmuted into the flesh of Christ. But why see we not the flesh? Because, if the flesh were seen, it would revolt us to such a degree, that we should be unable to partake of it. And therefore in condescension to our infirmity, the mystical food is given to us under an appearance suitable to our minds. He gave His flesh for the life of the world, in that, by dying, He destroyed death. By the life of the world too, I understand the resurrection; our Lord's death having brought about the resurrection of the whole human race. It may mean too the sanctified, beatified, spiritual life; for though all have not attained to this life, yet our Lord gave Himself for the world, and, as far as lies in Him, the whole world is sanctified.

AUG. But when does flesh receive the bread which He calls His flesh? The faithful know and receive the Body of Christ, if they labor to be the body of Christ. And they become the body of Christ, if they study to live by the Spirit of Christ: for that which lives by the Spirit of Christ, is the body of Christ. This bread the Apostle sets forth, where he says, We being many are one body. O sacrament of mercy, O sign of unity, O bond of love! Whoso wishes to live, let him draw nigh, believe, be incorporated, that he may be quickened.

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