Post 1~Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 22:14-38 (At the Last Supper)

This is the first of six posts on the Passion according to Luke taken from St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea (Golden Chain), a series of quotations take from the Church Fathers and serving as a commentary on the Gospel text. Luke 22:14-23:56 is the Palm Sunday Gospel reading for this year (2016).

Ver 14. And when the hour was come, he sat down and the twelve apostles with him.15. And he said to them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer:16. For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.17. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:18. For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

CYRIL; As soon as the disciples had prepared the Passover, they proceed to eat it; as it is said, And when the hour was come, &c.

BEDE; By the hour of eating the Passover, He signifies the fourteenth day of the first month, far gone towards evening, the fifteenth moon just appearing on the earth.

THEOPHYL. But how is our Lord said to sit down, whereas the Jews eat the Passover standing? They say, that when they had eaten the legal Passover, they sat down according to the common custom, to eat their other food.  It follows, And he said to them, With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you, &c.

CYRIL; He says this, because the covetous disciple was looking out for the time for betraying Him; but that he might not betray Him before the feast of the Passover, our Lord had not divulged either the house, or the man with whom He should keep the Passover. That this was the cause is very evident from these words.

THEOPHYL. Or He says, With desire have I desired; as if to say, This is My last supper with you, therefore it is most precious and welcome to Me; just as those who are going away to a distance, utter the last words to their friends most affectionately.

CHRYS. Or He says this, because after that Passover the Cross was at hand. But we find Him frequently prophesying of His own Passion, and desiring it to take place.

BEDE; He first then desires to eat the typical Passover, and so to declare the mysteries of His Passion to the world.

EUSEB. Or else; When our Lord was celebrating the new Passover, He fitly said, With desire have I desired this Passover, that is, the new mystery of the New Testament which He gave to His disciples, and which many prophets and righteous men desired before Him. He then also Himself thirsting for the common salvation, delivered this mystery, to suffice for the whole world. But the Passover was ordained by Moses to be celebrated in one place, that is, in Jerusalem. Therefore it was not adapted for the whole world, and so was not desired.

EPIPH. Hereby we may refute the folly of the Ebionites concerning the eating of flesh, seeing that our Lord eats the Passover of the Jews. Therefore He pointedly said, “This Passover” that no one might transfer it to mean another.

BEDE; Thus then was our Lord the approver of the legal Passover; and as He taught that it related to the figure of His own dispensation, He forbids it henceforth to be represented in the flesh. Therefore He adds, For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof; until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. That is, I will no more celebrate the Mosaic Passover, until, being spiritually understood, it is fulfilled in the Church. For the Church is the kingdom of God; as in Luke, The kingdom of God is within you. Again, the ancient Passover, which He desired to bring to an end, is also alluded to in what follows;

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take you, &c. For this gave He thanks, that the old things were about to pass away, and all things to become new.

CHRYS. Remember then when you sit down to meat that after the meal you must pray therefore satisfy your hunger, but with moderation, lest being overcharged you should not be able to bend your knees in supplication and prayer to God. Let us not then after our meals turn to sleep, but to prayer. For Christ plainly signifies this, that the partaking of food should not be followed by sleep or rest, but by prayer and reading the holy Scripture. It follows, For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God come.

BEDE; This may be also taken literally, for from the hour of supper up to the time of resurrection He was about to drink no wine. Afterwards He partook both of meat and drink, as Peter testifies, Who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

THEOPHYL. The resurrection is called the kingdom of God, because it has destroyed death. Therefore David also says, The Lord reigns. He has put on beauty, that is, a beautiful robe, having put off the corruption of the flesh. But when the resurrection comes, He again drinks with His disciples; to prove that the resurrection was not a shadow only.

BEDE; But it is far more natural, that as before of the typical lamb, so now also of the drink of the Passover, He should say that He would no more taste, until the glory of the kingdom of God being made manifest, the faith of the whole world should appear; that so by means of the spiritual changing of the two greatest commands of the law, namely, the eating and drinking of the Passover you might learn that all the Sacraments of the law were to be transferred to a spiritual observance.

Ver  19. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.20. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

BEDE; Having finished the rites of the old Passover, He passes on to the new, which He desires the Church to celebrate in memory of His redemption, substituting for the flesh and blood of the lamb, the Sacrament of His own Flesh and Blood in the figure of the bread and wine, being made a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech. Hence it is said, And he look bread, and gave thanks, as also He had given thanks upon finishing the old feast, leaving us an example to glorify God at the beginning and end of every good work. It follows, And broke it. He Himself breaks the bread which He holds forth, to show that the breaking of His Body, that is, His Passion, will not be without His will. And gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you.

GREG. NYSS. For the bread before the consecration is common bread, but when the mystery has consecrated it, it is, and it is called, the Body of Christ.

CYRIL; Nor doubt that this is true; for He plainly says, This is my body; but rather receive the words of your Savior in faith. For since He is the Truth, He lies not. They rave foolishly then who say that the mystical blessing loses its power of sanctifying, if any remains are left till the following day. For the most holy Body of Christ will not be changed, but the power of blessing and the life giving grace is ever abiding in it. For the life-giving power of God the Father is the only-begotten Word, which was made flesh not ceasing to be the Word, but making the flesh life giving. What then? since we have in us the life of God, the Word of God dwelling in us, will our body be life-giving? But it is one thing for us by the habit of participation to have in ourselves the Son of God, another for Himself to have been made flesh, that is, to have made the body which He took from the pure Virgin His own Body. He must needs then be in a certain manner united to our bodies by His holy Body and precious Blood, which we have received for a life giving blessing in the bread and wine. For lest we should be shocked, seeing the Flesh and Blood placed on the holy altars, God, in compassion to our infirmities, pours into the offerings the power of life, changing them into the reality of His own flesh, that the body of life may be found in us, as it were a certain life-giving seed. He adds, Do this in commemoration of me.

CHRYS. Christ did this to bring us to a closer bond of friendship, and to betoken His love toward us, giving Himself to those who desire Him, not only to behold Him, but also to handle Him, to eat Him, to embrace Him with the fullness of their whole heart. Therefore as lions breathing fire do we depart from that table, rendered objects of terror to the devil.

BASIL; Learn then in what manner you ought to eat the Body of Christ, namely, in remembrance of Christ’s obedience even to death, that they who live may no more live in themselves, but in Him who died for them, and rose again.

THEOPHYL. Now Luke mentions two cups; of the one we spoke above, Take this, and divide it among yourselves, which we may say is a type of the Old Testament; but the other after the breaking and giving of bread, He Himself imparts to His disciples. Hence it is added, Likewise also the cup after supper.

BEDE; He gave to them, is here understood to complete the sentence.

AUG. Or because Luke has twice mentioned the cup, first before Christ gave the bread, then after He had given it, on the first occasion he has anticipated, as he frequently does, but on the second that which he has placed in its natural order, he had made no mention of before. But both joined together make the same sense which we find in the others, that is, Matthew and Mark.

THEOPHYL. Our Lord calls the cup the New Testament, as it follows, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you, signifying that the New Testament has its beginning in His blood. For in the Old Testament the blood of animals was present when the law was given, but now the blood of the Word of God signifies to us the New Testament. But when He says, for you, He does not mean that for the Apostles only was His Body given, and His Blood poured out, but for the sake of all mankind. And the old Passover was ordained to remove the slavery of Egypt; but the blood of the lamb to protect the first-born. The new Passover was ordained to the remission of sins; but the Blood of Christ to preserve those who are dedicated to God.

CHRYS. For this Blood molds in us a royal image, it suffers not our nobleness of soul to waste away, moreover it refreshes the soul, and inspires it with great virtue. This Blood puts to flight the devils, summons angels, and the Lord of angels. This Blood poured forth washed the world, and made heaven open. They that partake of it are built up with heavenly virtues, and arrayed in the royal robes of Christ; yes rather clothed upon by the King Himself. And since if you come clean, you come healthfully; so if polluted by an evil conscience, you come to your own destruction, to pain and torment. For if they who defile the imperial purple are smitten with the same punishment as those who tear it asunder, it is not unreasonable that they who with an unclean heart receive Christ should be beaten with the same stripes as they were who pierced Him with nails.

BEDE; Because the bread strengthens, and the wine produces blood in the flesh, the former is ascribed to the Body of Christ, the latter to His Blood. But because both we ought to abide in Christ, and Christ in us, the wine of the Lord’s cup is mixed with water, for John bears witness, The people are many waters.

THEOPHYL. But first the bread is given, next the cup. For in spiritual things labor and action come first, that is, the bread, not only because it is toiled for by the sweat of the brow, but also because while being eaten it is not easy to swallow. Then after labor follows the rejoicing of Divine grace, which is the cup.

BEDE; For this reason then the Apostles communicated after supper, because it was necessary that the typical passover should be first completed, and then they should pass on to the Sacrament of the true Passover. But now in honor of so great a Sacrament, the masters of the Church think right that we should first be refreshed with the spiritual banquet, and afterward with the earthly.

GREEK EX. He that communicates receives the whole Body and Blood of our Lord, even though he receive but a part of the Mysteries. For as one seal imparts the whole of its device to different substances, and yet remains entire after distribution, and as one word penetrates to the hearing of many, so there is no doubt that the Body and Blood of our Lord is received whole in all. But the breaking of the sacred bread signifies the Passion.

Ver 21. But, behold, the hand of him that betrays me is with me on the table.22. And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.23. And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.

AUG. When our Lord had given the cup to His disciples, He again spoke of His betrayer, saying, But, behold, the hand of him that betrays me, &c.

THEOPHYL. And this He said not only to show that He knew all things, but also to declare to us His own especial goodness, in that He left nothing undone of those things which belonged to Him to do; (for He gives us an example, that even to the end we should be employed in reclaiming sinners;) and moreover to point out the baseness of the traitor who blushed not to be His guest.

CHRYS. Yet though partaking of the mystery, he was not converted. Nay, his wickedness is made only the more awful, as well because under the pollution of such a design, he came to the mystery, as that coming he was not made better, either by fear, gratitude, or respect.

BEDE; And yet our Lord does not especially point him out, lest being so plainly detected, he might only become the more shameless. But He throws the charge on the whole twelve that the guilty one might be turned to repentance. He also proclaims his punishment, that the man whom shame had not prevailed upon, might by the sentence denounced against him be brought to amendment. Hence it follows, And truly the Son of man goes , &c.

THEOPHYL. Not as if unable to preserve Himself, but as determining for Himself to suffer death for the salvation of man.

CHRYS. Because then Judas in the things which are written of him acted with an evil purpose, in order that no one might deem him guiltless, as being the minister of the dispensation. Christ adds, Woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.

BEDE; But woe also to that man, who coming unworthily to the Table of our Lord, after the example of Judas, betrays the Son, not indeed to Jews, but to sinners, that is, to his own sinful members. Although the eleven Apostles knew that they were meditating nothing against their Lord, yet notwithstanding because they trust more to their Master than themselves, fearing their own infirmities, they ask concerning a sin of which they had no consciousness.

AUG. When our Lord had given the cup to His disciples, He again spoke of His betrayer, saying, But, behold, the hand of him that betrays me, &c.

THEOPHYL. And this He said not only to show that He knew all things, but also to declare to us His own especial goodness, in that He left nothing undone of those things which belonged to Him to do; (for He gives us an example, that even to the end we should be employed in reclaiming sinners;) and moreover to point out the baseness of the traitor who blushed not to be His guest.

CHRYS. Yet though partaking of the mystery, he was not converted. Nay, his wickedness is made only the more awful, as well because under the pollution of such a design, he came to the mystery, as that coming he was not made better, either by fear, gratitude, or respect.

BEDE; And yet our Lord does not especially point him out, lest being so plainly detected, he might only become the more shameless. But He throws the charge on the whole twelve that the guilty one might be turned to repentance. He also proclaims his punishment, that the man whom shame had not prevailed upon, might by the sentence denounced against him be brought to amendment. Hence it follows, And truly the Son of man goes , &c.

THEOPHYL. Not as if unable to preserve Himself, but as determining for Himself to suffer death for the salvation of man.

CHRYS. Because then Judas in the things which are written of him acted with an evil purpose, in order that no one might deem him guiltless, as being the minister of the dispensation. Christ adds, Woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.

BEDE; But woe also to that man, who coming unworthily to the Table of our Lord, after the example of Judas, betrays the Son, not indeed to Jews, but to sinners, that is, to his own sinful members. Although the eleven Apostles knew that they were meditating nothing against their Lord, yet notwithstanding because they trust more to their Master than themselves, fearing their own infirmities, they ask concerning a sin of which they had no consciousness.

BASIL; For as in bodily diseases there are many of which the affected are not sensible, but they rather put faith in the opinion of their physicians, than trust their own insensibility; so also in the diseases of the soul, though a man is not conscious of sin in himself, yet ought he to trust to those who are able to have more knowledge of their own sins.

Ver 24. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.25. And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.26. But you shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that does serve.27. For whether is greater, he that sits at meat, or he that serves? is not be that sits at meat? but I am among you as he that serves.

THEOPHYL. While they were inquiring among themselves who should betray the Lord, they would naturally go on to say to one another, “You are the traitor,” and so become impelled to say, “I am the best, I am the greatest.” Hence it is said, And there was also a strife among them which should be accounted the greatest.

GREEK EX. Or the strife seems to have arisen from this, that when our Lord was departing from the world, it was thought that some one must become their head, as taking our Lord’s place.

BEDE; As good men seek in the Scriptures the examples of their fathers, that they may thereby gain profit and be humbled, so the bad, if by, chance they have discovered any thing blamable in the elect, most gladly seize upon it, to shelter their own iniquities thereby. Many therefore most eagerly read, that a strife arose among the disciples of Christ.

AMBROSE; If the disciples did contend, it is not alleged as any excuse, but held out as a warning. Let us then beware lest any contentions among us for precedence be our ruin.

BEDE; Rather let us look not what carnal disciples did, but what their spiritual Master commanded; for it follows, And he said to them, The kings of the Gentiles, &c.

CHRYS. He mentions the Gentiles, to show thereby how faulty it was. For it is of the Gentiles to seek after precedence.

CYRIL; Soft words are also given them by their subjects, as it follows, And they that exercise authority upon them, are called benefactors.

Now they truly as alien from the sacred law are subject to these evils, but your preeminence is in humility, as it follows, But you shall not be so.

BASIL; Let not him that is chief be puffed up by his dignity, lest he fall away from the blessedness of humility, but let him know that true humility is the ministering to many. As then he who attends many wounded and wipes away the blood from their wounds, least of all men enters upon the service for his own exaltation, much more ought he to whom is committed the care of his sick brethren as the minister of all, about to render an account of all, to be thoughtful and anxious. And so let him that is greatest be as the younger. Again, it is meet that those who are in the chief places should be ready to offer also bodily service, after our Lord’s example, who washed His disciples’ feet. Hence it follows, And he that is chief as he that does serve. But we need not fear that the spirit of humility will be weakened in the inferior, while he is being served by his superior, for by imitation humility is extended.

AMBROSE; But it must be observed, that not every kind of respect and deference to others betokens humility, for you may defer to a person for the world’s sake, for fear of his power, or regard to your own interest. In that case you seek to edify yourself, not to honor another. Therefore there is one form of the precept given to all men, namely, that they boast not about precedence, but strive earnestly for humility.

BEDE; In this rule however, given by our Lord, the great have need of no little judgment, that they do not indeed like the kings of the Gentiles delight to tyrannize over their subjects, and be puffed up with their praises, yet notwithstanding that they be provoked with a righteous zeal against the wickedness of offenders.

But to the words of the exhortation He subjoins His own example, as it follows, For which is greater, he who sits at meat, or he that serves? But I am among you, &c.

CHRYS. As if He says, Think not that your disciple needs you, but that you do not need him. For I who need no one whom all things in heaven and earth need, have condescended to the degree of a servant.

THEOPHYL. He shows Himself to be their servant, when He distributes the bread and the cup, of which service He makes mention, reminding them that if they have eaten of the same bread, and drunk of the same cup, if Christ Himself served all, they ought all to think the same things.

BEDE; Or He speaks of that service wherewith, according to John, He their Lord and Master washed their feet. Although by the word itself serving, all that He did in the flesh may be implied, but by serving He also signifies that He pours forth His blood for us.

Ver 28. You are they which have continued with me in my temptations.29. And I appoint to you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed to me;30. That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

THEOPHYL. As the Lord had denounced woe to the traitor, so on the other hand to the rest of the disciples He promises blessings, saying, You are they which have continued with me, &c.

BEDE; For not the first effort of patience, but long-continued perseverance, is rewarded with the glory of the heavenly kingdom for perseverance, (which is called constancy or fortitude of mind,) is, so to say, the pillar and prop of all virtues. The Son of God then conducts those who abide with Him in His temptations to the everlasting kingdom. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Hence it follows, And I give to you a kingdom , &c.

AMBROSE; The kingdom of God is not of this world. But it is not equality with God, but likeness to Him, to which man must aspire. For Christ alone is the full image of God, on account of the unity of His Father’s glory expressed in Him. But the righteous man is after the image of God, if for the sake of imitating the likeness of the Divine conversation, He through the knowledge of God despises the world. Therefore also we eat the Body and Blood of Christ, that we may be partakers of eternal life. Whence it follows, That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. For the reward promised to us is not food and drink, but the communication of heavenly grace and life.

BEDE; Or the table offered to all saints richly to enjoy is the glory of a heavenly life, w herewith they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled, resting in the long desired enjoyment of the true God.

THEOPHYL. He said this not as if they would have there bodily food, or as if His kingdom were to be a sensible one. For their life then shall be the life of angels, as He before told the Sadducees. But Paul also says that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink.

CYRIL; By means of the things of our present life He describes spiritual things. For they exercise a high privilege with earthly kings, who sit at their table as guests. So then by man’s estimation He shows who shall be rewarded by Him with the greatest honors.

BEDE; This then is the exchange to the right hand of the Most High, that those who now in lowliness rejoice to minister to their fellow-servants. shall then at our Lord’s table on high be fed with the banquet of everlasting life, and they who here in temptations abide with the Lord being unjustly judged, shall then come with Him as just judges upon their tempters. Hence it follows, And sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

THEOPHYL. That is, the unbelievers condemned out of the twelve tribes.

AMBROSE; But the twelve thrones are not as it were any resting-places for the bodily posture, but because since Christ judges after the Divine likeness by knowledge of the hearts, not by examination of the actions, rewarding virtue, condemning iniquity; so the Apostles are appointed to a spiritual judgment, for the rewarding of faith, the condemnation of unbelief, repelling error with virtue, inflicting vengeance on the sacrilegious.

CHRYS. What then will Judas also sit there? Observe what the lay, was which God gave by Jeremiah, If I have promised any good, and you are counted unworthy of it, I will punish you. Therefore speaking to His disciples He did not make a general promise, but added, You who have continued with me in my temptations.

BEDE; From the high excellence of this promise Judas is excluded. For before the Lord said this, Judas must be supposed to have gone out. They also are excluded whoever having heard the words of the incomprehensible Sacrament, have gone backwards.

Ver 31. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:32. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.33. And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.34. And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall thrice deny that you know me.

BEDE; Lest the eleven should be boastful, and impute it to their own strength, that they almost alone among so many thousands of the Jews were said to have continued with our Lord in His temptations, He shows them, that if they had not been protected by the aid of their Master succoring them, they would have been beaten down by the same storm as the rest. Hence it follows, And the Lord said to Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired you, that he may sift you as wheat. That is, he has longed to tempt you and to shake you, as he who cleanses wheat by winnowing. Wherein He teaches that no man’s faith is tried unless God permits it.

THEOPHYL. Now this was said to Peter, because he was bolder than the rest, and might feel proud because of the things which Christ had promised.

CYRIL; Or to show that men being as nought, (as regards human nature, and the proneness of our minds to fall,) it is not meet that they should wish to be above their brethren. Therefore passing by all the others, He comes to Peter, who was the chief of them, saying, But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.

CHRYS. Now He said not, ‘I have granted,’ but I have prayed. For He speaks humbly as approaching to His Passion, and that He may manifest His human nature. For He who had spoken not in supplication, but by authority, Upon this rock I will build my Church, and I will give you the keys of the kingdom, how should He have need of prayer that He might stay one agitated soul? He does not say, “I have prayed that you deny not,” but that you do not abandon your faith.

THEOPHYL. For albeit you are for a time shaken, yet you hold stored up, a seed of faith; though the spirit has shed its leaves in temptation, yet the root is firm. Satan then seeks to harm you, because he is envious of my love for you, but notwithstanding that I have prayed for you, you shall fall. Hence it follows, And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren. As if He says, After that you have wept and repented your denial of Me, strengthen your brethren, for I have deputed you to be the head of the Apostles. For this befits you who are with Me, the strength and rock of the Church. And this must be understood not only of the Apostles who then were, but of all the faithful who were about to be, even to the end of the world that none of the believers might despair, seeing that Peter though an Apostle denied his Lord, yet afterwards by penitence obtained the high privilege of being the Ruler of the world.

CYRIL; Marvel then at the superabundance of the Divine forbearance: lest He should cause a disciple to despair, before the crime was committed, He granted pardon, and again restored him to his Apostolic rank, saying, Strengthen your brethren.

BEDE; As if to say, As I by prayer protected your faith that it should not fail, so do you remember to sustain the weaker brethren, that they despair not of pardon.

AMBROSE; Beware then of boasting, beware of the world; he is commanded to strengthen his own brethren, who said, Master, we have left all, and followed you.

BEDE; Because the Lord said He had prayed for Peter’s faith, Peter conscious of present affection and fervent faith, but unconscious of his coming fall, does not believe he could in any way fall from Christ. As it follows, And he said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.

THEOPHYL. He burns forth indeed with too much love, and promises what is impossible to him. But it be him as soon as he heard from the Truth that he was to be tempted, to be no longer confident. Now the Lord, seeing that Peter spoke boastfully, reveals the nature of his temptation, namely, that he would deny Him; I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you thrice deny, &c.

AMBROSE; Now Peter although earnest in spirit, yet still weak in bodily inclination, is declared about to deny his Lord; for he could not equal the constancy of the Divine will. Our Lord’s Passion has rivals, but no equal.

THEOPHYL. From hence we draw a great doctrine, that human resolve is not sufficient without the Divine support. For Peter with all his zeal, nevertheless when forsaken of God was overthrown by the enemy.

BASIL; We must know then, that God sometimes allows the rash to receive a fall, as a remedy to previous self-confidence. But although the rash man seems to have committed the same offense with other men, there is no slight difference. For the one has sinned by reason of certain secret assaults and almost against his will, but the others, having no care either for themselves or God, knowing no distinction between sin and virtuous actions. For the rash needing some assistance, in regard to this very thing in which he has sinned ought to suffer reproof. But the others, having destroyed all the good of their soul, must be afflicted, warned, rebuked, or made subject to punishment, until they acknowledge that God is a just Judge, and tremble.

AUG. Now what is here said concerning the foregoing denial of Peter is contained in all the Evangelists, but they do not all happen to relate it upon the same occasion in the discourse. Matthew and Mark subjoin it after our Lord had departed from the house where He had eaten the Passover but Luke and John before He went out from thence. But we may easily understand either that the two former used these words, recapitulating them, or the two others anticipating them: only it rather moves us, that not only the words but even the sentences of our Lord, in which Peter being troubled used that boast of dying either for or with our Lord, are given so differently, as rather to compel us to believe that he thrice uttered his boast at different parts of our Lord’s discourse, and that he was thrice answered by our Lord, that before the cock crowed he should deny Him thrice.

Ver 35. And he said to them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked you any thing? And they said, Nothing.36. Then said he to them, But now, he that has a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.37. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.38. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough.

CYRIL; Our Lord had foretold to Peter that he should deny Him; namely, at the time of His being taken. But having once made mention of His being taken captive, He next announces the struggle that would ensue against the Jews. Hence it is said, And he said to them, When I sent you without purse, &c. For the Savior had sent the holy Apostles to preach in the cities and towns the kingdom of heaven, bidding them to take no thought of the things of the body, but to place their whole hope of salvation in l km.

CHRYS. Now as one who teaches to swim, at first indeed placing his hands under his pupils, carefully supports them, but afterward frequently withdrawing his hand, bids them help themselves, nay even lets them sink a little; so likewise did Christ deal with His disciples. At the beginning truly He was present to them, giving them most richly abundance of all things; as it follows, And they said to them, Nothing.

But when it was necessary for them to show their own strength, He withdrew from them for a little His grace, bidding them do something of themselves; as it follows, But now he that has a purse, that is, wherein to carry money, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, that is, to carry provisions in. And truly when they had neither shoes, nor girdle, nor staff, nor money, they never suffered the want of any thing. But when He allowed them purse and scrip, they seem to suffer hunger, and thirst, and nakedness. As if He said to them, Hitherto all things have been most richly supplied to you, but now I would have you also experience poverty, therefore I hold you no longer to the former rule, but I command you to get purse and scrip. Now God might even to the end have kept them in plenty, but for many reasons He was unwilling to do so. First that they might impute nothing to themselves, but acknowledge that every thing flowed from God; secondly, that they might learn moderation; thirdly, that they might not think too highly of themselves. For this cause while He permitted them to fall into many unlooked for evils, He relaxed the rigor of the former law, lest it should become grievous and intolerable.

BEDE; For He does not train His disciples in the same rule of life, in time of persecution, as in the time of peace. When He sent them to preach, He ordered them to take nothing in the way, ordaining in truth, that He who preaches the Gospel should live by the Gospel. But when the crisis of death was at hand, and the whole nation persecuted both the shepherd and the Hock, He proposes a law adapted to the time, allowing them to take the necessaries of life, until the rage of the persecutors was abated, and the time of preaching the Gospel had returned. Herein He leaves us also an example, that at times when a just reason urges, we may intermit without blame somewhat of the strictness of our determination.

AUG. By no inconsistency then of Him who commands, but by the reason of the dispensation, according to the diversity of times are commandments, counsels, or permissions changed.

AMBROSE; But He who forbids to strike, why does He order them to buy a sword? unless perchance that there may be a defense prepared, but no necessary retaliation; a seeming ability to be revenged, without the will. Hence it follows, And he who has not, (that is, a purse,) let him sell his garment, and buy a sword,

CHRYS. What is this? He who said, If any one strike you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, now arms His disciples, and with a sword only. For if it were fitting to be completely armed, not only must a man possess a sword, but shield and helmet. But even though a thousand had arms of this kind, how could the eleven be prepared for all the attacks and lying in wait of people, tyrants, allies, and nations, and how should they not quake at the mere sight of armed men, who had been brought up near lakes and rivers? We must not then suppose that He ordered them to possess swords, but by the swords He points at the secret attack of the Jews. And hence it follows, For I say to you, that this that is written must, be accomplished in me: And he was numbered with the transgressors.

THEOPHYL. While they were contending among themselves above concerning priority, He said, It is not a time of dignities, but rather of danger and slaughter. Behold I even your Master am led to a disgraceful death, to be reckoned with the transgressors. For these things which are prophesied of Me have an end, that is, a fulfillment. Wishing then to hint at a violent attack, He made mention of a sword, not altogether revealing it, lest they should be seized with dismay, nor did He entirely provide that they should not be shaken by these sudden attacks, but that afterwards recovering, they might marvel how He gave Himself up to the Passion, a ransom for the salvation of men.

BASIL; Or the Lord does not bid them carry purse and scrip and buy a sword, but predicts that it should come to pass, that in truth the Apostles, forgetful of the time of the Passion, of the gifts and law of their Lord, would dare to take up the sword. For often does the Scripture make use of the imperative form of speech in the place of prophecy. Still in many books we do not find, Let him take, or buy, but, he will take, he will buy.

THEOPHYL. Or He hereby foretell to them that they would incur hunger and thirst, which He implies by the scrip, and sundry kinds of misery, which he intends by the sword.

CYRIL; Or else; When our Lord says, He who has a purse, let him take it, likewise a scrip, His discourse He addressed to His disciples, but in reality He regards every individual Jew; as if He says, If any Jew is rich in resources, let him collect them together and fly. But if any one oppressed with extreme poverty applies himself to religion, let him also sell his cloak and buy a sword. For the terrible attack of battle shall overtake them, so that nothing shall suffice to resist it. He next lays open the cause of these evils, namely, that He suffered the penalty due to the wicked, being crucified with thieves. And when it shall have come at last to this, the word of dispensation will receive its end. But to the persecutors shall happen all that has been foretold by the Prophets. These things then God prophesied concerning what should befall the country of the Jews, but the disciples understood not the depth of His words, thinking they had need of swords against the coming attack of the traitor. Whence it follows; But they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords.

CHRYS. And in truth, if He wished them to use human aid, not a hundred swords would have sufficed; but if He willed not the assistance of man, even two are superfluous.

THEOPHYL. Our Lord then was unwilling to blame them as not understanding Him, but saying, It is enough, He dismissed them; as when we are addressing any one, and see that he does not understand what is said, we say, Well, let us leave him, lest we trouble him. But some say, that our Lord said, It is enough, ironically; as if He said, Since there are two swords, they will amply suffice against so large a multitude as is about to attack us.

BEDE; Or the two swords suffice for a testimony that Jesus suffered voluntarily. The one indeed was to teach the Apostles the presumption of their contending for their Lord, and His inherent virtue of healing; the other never taken out of its sheath, to show that they were not even permitted to do all that they could for His defense.

AMBROSE; Or, because the law does not forbid to return a blow, perhaps He says to Peter, as he is offering the two swords, It is enough, as though it were lawful until the Gospel; in order that there may be in the law, the knowledge of Justice; in the Gospel, perfection of goodness. There is also a spiritual sword, that you may sell your patrimony, and buy the word, by which the nakedness of the soul is clothed. There is also a sword of suffering, so that you may strip your body, and with the spoils of your sacrificed flesh purchase for yourself the sacred crown of martyrdom. Again it moves, seeing that the disciples put forward two swords, whether perhaps one is not of the Old Testament, the other of the New, whereby we are armed against the wiles of the devil. Therefore the Lord says, It is enough, because he wanted nothing who is fortified by the teaching of both Testaments.

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One Response to Post 1~Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 22:14-38 (At the Last Supper)

  1. Pingback: Year C: Palm Sunday Commentaries on the Processional and Gospel Readings | stjoeofoblog

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