Post 4~Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 23:26-32 (The Way of the Cross)

Ver 26. And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.27. And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.28. But Jesus turning to them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.29. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.30. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.31. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?32. And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

GLOSS. Having related the condemnation of Christ, Luke naturally goes on to speak of His crucifixion; as it is said, And as they led him away, they laid hold upon on Simon, &c.

AUG. But John relates that Jesus bore His own cross, from which is understood that He was Himself carrying His cross, when He went froth to that place which is called Calvary; but as they journeyed Simon was forced into the service on the road, and the cross was given him to carry as far as the place.

THEOPHYL. For no one else accepted to bear the cross, because the wood was counted an abomination. Accordingly upon Simon the Cyrenian they imposed as it were to his dishonor the bearing of the cross, which others refused. Here is fulfilled that prophecy of Isaiah, Whose government shall be upon his shoulder. For the government of Christ is His cross; for which the Apostle says, God has exalted him. And as for a mark of dignity, some wear a belt, others a head dress, so our Lord the cross. And if you seek, you will find that Christ does not reign in us save by hardships, whence it comes that the luxurious are the enemies of the cross of Christ.

AMBROSE; Christ therefore bearing His cross, already as a conqueror carried His trophies. The cross is laid upon His shoulders, because whether Simon or Himself bore it, both Christ bore it in the man, and the man in Christ. Nor do the accounts of the Evangelists differ, since the mystery reconciles them. And it is the rightful order of our advance that Christ should first Himself erect the trophy of His cross, then hand it down to be raised by His martyrs. He is not a Jew who bears the cross, but an alien and a foreigner, nor does he precede but follow, according as it is written, Let him take up his cross, and follow me.

BEDE, Simon is by interpretation “obedient”, Cyrene “an heir” By this man therefore the people of the Gentiles are denoted who formerly foreigners and aliens to the covenant, have now by obedience been made heirs of God. But Simon coming out of a village, bears the cross after Jesus, because forsaking the pagan rites, he obediently embraces the footsteps of our Lord’s Passion. For a village is in Greek called, from whence Pagans derive their name.

THEOPHYL. Or he takes up the cross of Christ, who comes from the village; that is, he leaves this world and its labors, going forward to Jerusalem, that is heavenly liberty. Hereby also we receive no slight instruction. For to be a master after the example of Christ, a man must himself first take up his cross, and in the fear of God crucify his own flesh, that he may so lay it upon those that are subject and obedient to him. But there followed Christ a great company of people, and of women.

BEDE; A large multitude indeed followed the cross of Christ, but with very different feelings. For the people who had demanded his death were rejoicing that they should see Him dying, the women weeping that he was about to die. But He was followed by the weeping only of women. Not because that vast crowd of men was not also sorrowful at His Passion, but because the less esteemed female sex could more freely give utterance to what they thought.

CYRIL; Women also are ever prone to tears, and have hearts easily disposed to pity.

THEOPHYL. He bids those who weep for him cast their eyes forward to the evils that were coming, and weep for themselves.

CYRIL; Signifying that in the time to come women would be bereft of their children. For when war breaks out upon the land of the Jews. All shall perish, both small and great. Hence it follows, For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, &c.

THEOPHYL. Seeing indeed that women shall cruelly roast their children, and the belly which had produced shall miserably again receive that which it bore.

BEDE; By these miserably again receive that which it bore.

BEDE; By these days He signifies the time of the siege and captivity which was coming upon them from the Romans, of which He had said before, Woe to them that are with child, and give suck in those days. It is natural, when captivity by an enemy is threatening, to seek for refuge in fastnesses or hidden places, where men may lie concealed. And so it follows, Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For Josephus relates, that when the Romans pressed hard upon them, the Jews sought hastily the caverns of the mountains, and the lurking places in the hills. It may be also that the words, Blessed are the barren, are to be understood of those of both sexes, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, and that it is said to the mountains and hills, Fall upon us, and Cover us, because all who are mindful of their own weakness, when the crisis of their temptations breaks upon them, have sought to be protected by the example, precept, and prayers, of certain high and saintly men.

It follows, But if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

GREG. He has called Himself the life and strength of the Divine nature; but we who are mere men are called the dry wood.

THEOPHYL. As though He said to the Jews, If then the Romans have so raged against Me, a fruit-bearing and ever flourishing tree, what will they not attempt against you the people, who are a dry tree, destitute of every life-giving virtue, and bearing no fruit?

BEDE; Or as if He spoke to all: If I who have done no sin being called the tree of life, do not depart form the world without suffering the fire of my Passion, what torment think you awaits those who are barren of all fruits?

THEOPHYL. But the Devil, desiring to engender an evil opinion of our Lord, caused robbers also to be crucified with Him; whence it follows, And there were two other malefactors led with him to be put to death.

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One Response to Post 4~Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 23:26-32 (The Way of the Cross)

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

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