Post 3~Aquinas’Catena Aurea on Luke 22:63-23:25 (Mockery, Trials, Sentence of Death)

Ver 63. And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.64. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote you?65. And many other things blasphemously spoke they against him.66. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,67. Are you the Christ? Tell us. And he said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe:68. And if I also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let me go.69. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.70. Then said they all, Are you then the Son of God? And he said to them, You say that I am.71. And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.

AUG. The temptation of Peter which took place between the mockings of our Lord is not related by all the Evangelists in the same order. For Matthew and Mark first mention those, then Peter’s temptation; but Luke has first described the temptations of Peter, then the mockings of our Lord, saying, And the men that held Jesus mocked him, &c.

CHRYS. Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth, sustains and suffers the mockings of the ungodly, giving us an example of patience.

THEOPHYL. Likewise the Lord of prophets is derided as a false prophet. It follows, And they blindfolded him. This they did as a dishonor to Him who wished to be accounted by the people as a prophet.

But He who was struck with the blows of the Jews, is struck also now by the blasphemies of false Christians. And they blindfolded Him, not that He should not see their wickedness, but that they might hide His face from them. But heretics, and Jews, and wicked Catholics, provoke Him with their vile actions, as it were mocking Him, saying, Who smote you? while they flatter themselves that their evil thoughts and works of darkness are not known by Him.

AUG. Now our Lord is supposed to have suffered these things until morning in the house of the High Priest, to which He was first led. Hence it follows, And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Are you the Christ? &c.

BEDE; They wished not for truth, but were contriving calumny. Because they expected that Christ would come only as man, of the root of David, they sought this of Him, that if He should say, “I am the Christ,” they might falsely accuse Him of claiming to Himself the kingly power.

THEOPHYL. He knew the secrets of their hearts, that they who had not believed His works would much less believe His words. Hence it follows, And he said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe, &c.

BEDE; For He had often , declared Himself to be the Christ; as when he said, I and my Father are one, and other such like things. And if I also ask you, you will not answer me. For He had asked them how they said Christ was the Son of David, whereas David in the Spirit called Him his Lord. But they wished neither to believe His words nor to answer His questions.

However, because they sought to accuse falsely the seed of David, they hear something still farther; as it follows, Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.

THEOPHYL. As if he said, There is no time left to you any longer for discourses and teaching, but hereafter shall be the time of judgment, when you shall see the Son of man, sitting on the right hand of the power of God.

CYRIL; Whenever sitting and a throne are spoken of God, His kingly and supreme majesty is signified. For we do not imagine any judgment-seat to be placed, on which we believe the Lord of all takes His seat; nor again, that in any wise right hand or left hand appertain to the Divine nature; for figure, and place, and sitting, are the properties of bodies. But how shall the Son be seen to be of equal honor and to sit together on the same throne, if He is not the Son according to nature, having in Himself the natural property of the Father?

THEOPHYL. When then they heard this, they ought to have been afraid, but after these words they are the more frantic; as it follows, All said, &c.

BEDE; They understood that He called Himself the Son of God in these words, The Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power of God.

AMBROSE; The Lord had rather prove Himself a King than call Himself one, that they might have no excuse for condemning Him, when they confess the truth of that which they lay against Him. It follows, And he said, You say that I am.

CYRIL; When Christ spoke this, the company of the Pharisees were very wroth, uttering shameful words; as it follows, Then said they, What need we any further witness? &c.

THEOPHYL. Whereby it the manifest, that the disobedient reap no advantage, when the more secret mysteries are revealed to them, but rather incur the heavier punishment. Wherefore such things ought to be concealed from them.

23:1. And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate.2. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.3. And Pilate asked him, saying, Are you the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, You say it.4. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.5. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.

AUG. Luke, after he had finished relating the denial of Peter, recapitulated all that took place concerning our Lord during the morning, mentioning some particulars which the others omitted; and so he has composed his narrative, giving a similar account with the rest, when he says, And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate, &c.

BEDE; That the word of Jesus might be fulfilled which He prophesied of His own death, He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, that is, to the Romans. For Pilate was a Roman, and the Romans had sent him as governor to Judea.

AUG. He next relates what happens before Pilate, as follows, And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting our nation, &c. Matthew and Mark do not give this, though affirming that they accused Him, but Luke has laid open the very charges which they falsely brought against Him.

THEOPHYL. Most plainly are they opposed to the truth. For our Lord was so far from forbidding to give tribute, that He commanded it to be given. How then did He pervert the people? Was it that He might take possession of the kingdom? But this is incredible to all, for when the whole multitude wished to choose Him for their king, He was as aware of it, and fled.

BEDE; Now two charges having been brought against our Lord, namely, that He forbade to pay tribute to Caesar, and called Himself Christ the King, it may be that Pilate had chanced to hear that which our Lord spoke, Render to Caesar the things which be Caesar’s; and therefore setting aside this accusation as a palpable lie of the Jews, he thought fit to ask concerning that alone of which he knew nothing, the saying about the kingdom; for it follows, Pilate asked him, saying, Are you the King of the Jews, &c.

THEOPHYL. It seems to me that he asked this question of Christ by way of deriding the wantonness or hypocrisy of the alleged charge. As if he said, you a poor humble naked man, with none to help You, are accused of seeking a kingdom, for which you would need many to help You, and much money.

BEDE; He answers the governor in the same words which He used to the Chief Priests, that Pilate might be condemned by his own voice; for it follows, And he answering said, You say.

THEOPHYL. Now they finding nothing else to support their calumny, have resort to the aid of clamor, for it follows, And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. As if they said, He perverts the people, not in one part only, but beginning from Galilee He arrives at this place, having passed through Judea. I think then that they purposely made mention of Galilee, as desirous to alarm Pilate, for the Galileans were of a different sect and given to sedition, as, for example, Judas of Galilee who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

BEDE; But with these words they accuse not Him, but themselves. For to have taught the people, and by teaching to have roused them from their former idleness, and doing this to have passed through the whole land of promise, was an evidence not of sin, but of virtue.

AMBROSE; Our Lord is accused and is silent, for He needs no defense. Let them cast about for defense who fear to be conquered. He does not then confirm the accusation by His silence, but He despises it by not refuting it. Why then should He fear who does not court safety? The Safety of all men forfeits His own, that He may gain that of all.

Ver 6. When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean.7. And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.8. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him9. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.10. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.11. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.12. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

BEDE, Pilate having determined not to question our Lord concerning the above-mentioned accusation, is the rather glad now that an opportunity offers to escape from passing judgment upon Him. Hence it is said, When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean. And lest he should be compelled to pass sentence against one whom he knew to be innocent, and delivered for envy sends Him to be heard by Herod, preferring that he who was the Tetrarch of our Lord’s country might be the person either to acquit or punish Him; for it follows, And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction.

THEOPHYL. Wherein he follows the Roman law, which provided that every man should be judged by the governor of his own jurisdiction.

GREG. Now Herod wished to make proof of Christ’s fame, desiring to witness His miracles; for it follows, And when Herod saw Jesus, he was glad, &c.THEOPHYL. Not as though he was about to gain any benefit from the sight, but seized with curiosity he thought he should see that extraordinary man, of whose wisdom and wonderful works he had heard so much. He also wished to hear from His mouth what He could say. Accordingly he asks Him questions, making a sport of Him, and ridiculing Him. But Jesus, who performed all things prudently, and who, as David testifies, orders His words with discretion, thought it right in such a case to be silent. For a word uttered to one whom it profits nothing becomes the cause of his condemnation. Therefore it follows, But he answered him nothing.

AMBROSE; He was silent and did nothing, for Herod’s unbelief deserved not to see Him, and the Lord shunned display. And perhaps typically in Herod are represented all the ungodly, who if they have not believed the Law and the Prophets, cannot see Christ’s wonderful works in the Gospel.

GREG. From these words we ought to derive a lesson, that whenever our hearers wish as if by praising us to gain knowledge from us, but not to change their own wicked course, we must be altogether silent, lest if from love of ostentation we speak God’s word, both they who were guilty cease not to be so, and we who were not become so. And there are many things which betray the motive of a hearer, but one in particular, when they always praise what they hear, yet never follow what they praise.

GREG. The Redeemer therefore though questioned held His peace, though expected disdained to work miracles. And keeping Himself secretly within Himself, left those who were satisfied to seek for outward things, to remain thankless without, preferring to be openly set at nought by the proud, than be praised by the hollow voices of unbelievers. Hence it follows, And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.

And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a white robe.

AMBROSE; It is not without reason that He is arrayed by Herod in a white robe, as bearing a sign of His immaculate Passion, that the Lamb of God without spot would take upon Himself the sins of the world.

THEOPHYL. Nevertheless, observe how the Devil is thwarted by the thing which He does. He heaps up scorn and reproaches against Christ, whereby it is made manifest that the Lord is not seditious. Otherwise He would not have been derided, when so great a danger was afloat, and that too from a people who were held in suspicion, and so given to change. But the sending of Christ by Pilate to Herod, becomes the commencement of a mutual friendship, Pilate not receiving those who were subject to Herod’s authority, as it is added, And they were made friends, &c. Observe the Devil every where uniting together things separate, that he may compass the death of Christ. Let us blush then, if for the sake of our salvation we keep not even our friends in union with us.

AMBROSE; Under the type also of Herod and Pilate, who from enemies were made friends by Jesus Christ, is preserved the figure of the people of Israel and the Gentile nation; that through our Lord’s Passion should come to pass the future concord of both, yet so that the people of the Gentiles should receive the word of God first, and then transmit it by the devotion of their faith to the Jewish people; that they too may with the glory of their majesty clothe the body of Christ, which before they had despised.

BEDE; Or this alliance between Herod and Pilate signifies that the Gentiles and Jews, though differing in race, religion, and character, agree together in persecuting Christians

Ver 13. And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,14. Said to them, you have brought this man to me, as one that perverts the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof you accuse him:15. No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done to him.16. I will therefore chastise him, and release him.17. (For of necessity he must release one to them at the feast.)18. And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas:19. (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)20. Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spoke again to them.21. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.22. And he said to them the third time, Why, what evil has he dons? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.23. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.24. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.25. And he released to them him that for sedation and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

AUG. Luke returns to those things which were going on before the governor, from which he had digressed in order to relate what took place with Herod; saying as follows, And Pilate, when he had called, yet from which we infer, that he has omitted the part wherein Pilate questioned our Lord what He had to answer to His accusers.

AMBROSE; Here Pilate, who as a judge acquits Christ, is made the minister of His crucifixion.

He is sent to Herod, sent back to Pilate, as it follows, Nor yet Herod, for I sent you to him, and behold nothing worthy of death is done to him. They both refuse to pronounce Him guilty, yet for fear’s sake, Pilate gratifies the cruel desires of the Jews.

THEOPHYL. Wherefore by the testimony of two men, Jesus is declared innocent, but the Jews s His accusers brought forward no witness whom they could believe. See then how truth triumphs. Jesus is silent, and His enemies witness for Him the Jews make loud cries, and not one of them corroborates their clamor.

BEDE; Perish then those writings, which composed so long a time after Christ, convict not the accused of magical arts against Pilate, but the writers themselves of treachery and lying against Christ.

THEOPHYL. Pilate therefore lenient and easy, yet wanting in firmness for the truth, because afraid of being accused, adds, I will therefore chastise him and release him.

BEDE; As if he said, I will subject Him to all the scourgings and mockings you desire, but do not thirst after the innocent blood. It follows, For of necessity he must release one to them, &c. an obligation not imposed by a decree of the imperial law, but binding by the annual custom of the nation whom in such things he was glad to please.

THEOPHYL. For the Romans permitted the Jews to live according to their own laws and customs. And it was a natural custom of the Jews to seek pardon of the prince for those who were condemned as they asked Jonathan of Saul. And hence it is now added, with respect to their petition, And they cried all at once, Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas, &c.

AMBROSE; Not unreasonably do they seek the pardon of a murderer, who were themselves demanding the death of the innocent. Such are the laws of iniquity, that what innocence hates, guilt loves. And here the interpretation of the name affords a figurative resemblance, for Barabbas is in Latin, the son of a father. Those then to whom it is said, You are your father the Devil, are represented as about to prefer t the true Son of God the son of their father, that is, Anti Christ.

BEDE; Even to this day their request still clings to the Jews. For since when they had the choice given to them, they chose a robber for Jesus, a murderer for a Savior; rightly lost they both life and salvation, and became subject to such robberies and seditions among themselves as to forfeit both their country and kingdom.

THEOPHYL. Thus it came to pass, the once holy nation rages to slay, the Gentile Pilate forbids slaughter; as it follows, Pilate therefore spoke again to them, but they cried, out, Crucify, &c.

BEDE; With the worst kind of death, that is, crucifixion, they long to murder the innocent. For they who hung on the cross, with their hands and feet fixed by nails to the wood, suffered a prolonged death, that their agony might not quickly cease; but the death of the cross was chosen by our Lord, as that which having overcome the Devil, He was about to place as a trophy on the brows of the faithful.

THEOPHYL. Three times did Pilate acquit Christ, for it follows, And he said to them the third time, Why, what evil has he done? I will chastise him, and let him go.

BEDE, This chastisement wherewith Pilate sought to satisfy the people, lest their rage should go even so far as to crucify Jesus, John’s words bear testimony that he not only threatened but performed together with mockings and scourgings. But when they saw all their charges which they brought against the Lord baffled by Pilate’s diligent questioning, they resort at last to prayers only; entreating that He might be crucified.

THEOPHYL. They cry out the third time against to be that by this third voice, they may approve the murder to e their own, which by their entreaties they extorted; for it follows, And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

And he released him that for sedition and murder was cast in to prison, but delivered Jesus to their will.

CHRYS. For they thought they could add this, namely, that Jesus was worse than a robber, and so wicked, that neither for mercy’s sake, or by the privilege of the feast, ought He to be let free.

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One Response to Post 3~Aquinas’Catena Aurea on Luke 22:63-23:25 (Mockery, Trials, Sentence of Death)

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

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