Aquinas’ Catena Aurea On John 13:31-35

Ver 31. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.32. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

ORIGEN. After the glory of His miracles, and His transfiguration, the next glorifying of the Son of man began, when Judas went out with Satan, who had entered into him; Therefore when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. For it is not the eternal only-begotten Word, but the glory of the Man born of the seed of David, which is here meant.

Christ at His death, in which He glorified God, having spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them, openly triumphing over them (Col_2:15). And again, Made peace by the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things to Himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven (Col_1:20). Thus the Son of man was glorified, and God glorified in Him; for Christ cannot be glorified, except the Father be glorified with Him. But whoever is glorified, is glorified by someone.

By whom then is the Son of man glorified? He tells you; If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify if Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him.

CHRYS. i.e. by Himself, not by any other. And shall straightway glorify Him, i.e. not at any distant time, but immediately, while He is yet on the very cross shall His glory appear. For the sun was darkened, rocks were rent, and many bodies of those that slept arose. In this way He restores the drooping spirits of His disciples, and persuades them, instead of sorrowing, to rejoice.

AUG. Or thus: The unclean went out: the clean remained with their cleanser. Thus will it be when the tares are separated from the wheat; The righteous shall shine forth as the sale in the kingdom of their Father (Mat_13:43). Our Lord, foreseeing this, said, when Judas went out, as if the tares were now separated, and He left alone with the wheat, the holy Apostles.

Now is the Son of man glorified; as if to say, Behold what will take place at My glorifying, at which none of the wicked shall be present, none of the righteous shall perish. He does not say, Now is the glorifying of the Son of man signified; but, Now is the Son of man glorified; as it is not that rock signified Christ, or but, That Rock was Christ (1Co_10:4).

Scripture often speaks of the things signifying, as if they were the things signified. But the glorifying of the Son of man, is the glorifying of God in Him; as He adds, And God is glorified in Him, which He proceeds to explain; If God is glorified in Him – for He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him – God shall also glorify Him in Himself, so that the human nature which was assumed by the eternal Word, shall also be endowed with eternity.

And shall straightway glorify Him. He predicts His own resurrection, which was to follow immediately, not at the end of the world, like ours. Thus it is; Now is the Son of man glorified; the now referring not to His approaching Passion, hut the resurrection which was immediately to follow it: as if that which was so very soon to be, had already taken place.

HILARY. That God is glorified in Him, refers to the glory of the body, which glory is the glory of God, in that the body borrows its glory from its association with the Divine nature because God is glorified in Him, therefore He will; glorify Him in Himself, in that He who reigns in the glory arising from the glory of God, He forthwith passes over into God’s glory, leaving the dispensation of His manhood wholly to abide in God.

Nor is He silent as to the time And shall straightway glorify Him. This referring to the glory of His resurrection which was immediately to follow His passion, which He mentions as present, because Judas had now gone out to betray Him; whereas that God would glorify Him in Himself, He reserves for the future. The glory of God was strewn in Him by the miracle of the resurrection; but He will abide in the glory of God when He has left the dispensation of subjection.

The sense of these first words, Now is the Son of man glorified, is not doubtful: it is the glory of the flesh which is meant, not that of the Word But what means the next, And God is glorified in Him? The Son of man is not another Person from the Son of God for, the Word was made flesh (Joh_1:14). How is God glorified in this Son of man, who is the Son of God?

The next clause helps us; If God is glorified in Him, God also will glorify Him in Himself. A man is not glorified in himself, nor, on the other hand, does God who is glorified in man, because He receives glory, cease to be God. So the words, God is glorified in Him, either mean that Christ is glorified in the flesh, or that God is glorified in Christ. If God means Christ, it is Christ who is glorified in the flesh; if the Father, then it is the Sacrament of unity, the Father glorified in the Son. Again, God glorifies in Himself God glorified in the Son of man.

This overthrows the impious doctrine that Christ is not very God, in verity of nature. For how can that which God glorifies in Himself be out of Himself? He whom the Father glorifies must be confessed to be in His glory, and He who is glorified in the glory of the Father, must be understood to be in the same case with the Father.

ORIGEN. Or thus: The word glory is here used in a different sense from that which some Pagans attach to it, who defined glory to be the collected praises of the many. It is evident that glory in such a sense is a different thing from that mentioned in Exodus, where it is said, that the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exod 40:34), and that the face of Moses was glorified. The glory here mentioned is something visible, a certain divine appearance in the temple, and on Moses’ face; but in a higher and more spiritual sense we are glorified, when with the eye of the understanding we penetrate into the things of God.

For the mind when it ascends above material things, and spiritually sees God, is defied: and of this spiritual glory, the visible glory on the face of Moses is a figure: for his mind it was that was defied by converse with God. But there is no comparison between the excellent glory of Christ, and the knowledge of Moses, whereby the face of his soul was glorified: for the whole of the Father’s glory shines upon the Son, who is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person (Heb_1:3). Yea, and from the light of this whole glory there go forth particular glories, throughout the whole rational creation; though none can take in the whole of the divine glory, except the Son.

But so far as the Son was known to the world, so far only was He glorified. And as yet He was not fully known. But afterward the Father spread the knowledge of Him over the whole world, and then was the Son of man glorified in those who knew Him. And of this glory He has made all who know Him partakers: as said the Apostle: We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory (2Co_3:18), i.e. from His glory receive glory.

When He was approaching then that dispensation, by which He was to become known to the world, and to be glorified in the glory of those who glorified Him, He says, Now is the Son of man glorified (Mat_11:27). And because no man knows the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him, and the Son by the dispensation was about to reveal the Father; for this reason He said, And God is glorified in Him. Or compare this with the text below: He that has seen Me, has seen the Father. The Father who begat the Word is seen in the Word, who is God, and the image of the invisible God. But the words may be taken in a larger sense. For as through some the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles, so through the saints whose good deeds are seen and acknowledged by the world, the name of the Father in heaven is magnified.

But in whom was He so glorified as in Jesus, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth? Such being the Son, He is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. And if God is glorified in Him, the Father returns Him more than He gave. For the glory of the Son of man, when the Father glorifies Him, far exceeds the Father’s glory, when He is glorified in the Son: it being fit that the greater should return the greater glory. And as this, viz. the glorifying of the Son of man, was just about to be accomplished, our Lord adds, And will straightway glorify Him.

Ver 33. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. you shall seek me: and as I said to the Jews, Whither I go, you cannot come; so now I say to you.34. A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one to another.

AUG. After He had said, And shall straightway glorify Him, that they might not think that God was going to glorify Him in such a way, as that He would no longer have any converse with them on earth, He says, Little children, yet a little while I am with you: as if He said, I shall indeed straightway be glorified by My resurrection, but I shall not straightway ascend to heaven. For we read in the Acts of the Apostles, that He was with them forty days after His resurrection. These forty days are what He means by, A little while I am with you.

ORIGEN. Little children, He says; for their souls were yet in infancy. But these little children, after His death, were made brethren; as before they were little children, they were servants.

AUG. It may be understood too thus: I am as yet in this frail flesh, even as you are, until I die and rise again. He was with them after His resurrection, by bodily presence, not by participation of human frailty. These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you (Luk_24:44). He says to His disciples after His resurrection; meaning, while I was in mortal flesh, as you are. He was in the same flesh then with them, but not subject to the same mortality. But there is another Divine Presence unknown to mortal senses, of which He said, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world (Mat_28:20).

This is not the presence meant by, A little while I am with you; for it is not a little while to the end of the world: or even if it is a little while, because that in the eye of God, a thousand years are as one day, yet what follows shows that it is not what our Lord is here alluding to; for He adds, Whither I go you cannot follow Me now. At the end of the world they were to follow Him, whither He went; as He said below; Father, I will that they be with Me, where I am

ORIGEN. But may there not be a deeper meaning in the words, yet a little while &c. After a little while He was not with them. In what sense not with them? Not because He was not with them according to the flesh, in that He was taken from them, was brought before Pilate, was crucified, descended into hell: but because they all forsook Him, fulfilling His prophecy: All you shall be offended because of Me this night. He was not with them, because He only dwells with those who are worthy of Him. But though they thus wandered from Jesus for a little while, it was only for a little while; they soon sought Him again. Peter wept bitterly after his denial of Jesus, and by his tears sought Him: and therefore it follows, you shall seek Me, and as I said to the Jews, whither I go, you cannot follow Me now. To seek Jesus, is to seek the Word, wisdom, righteousness, truth, all which is Christ. To His disciples therefore who wish to follow Him, not in a bodily sense, as the ignorant think, but in the way He ordains, Whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. Our Lord said, Whither I go you cannot follow Me now. For though they wished to follow the Word, and to confess Him, they were not yet strong enough to do so; The Spirit was not yet given to them, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.

AUG. Or He means that they were not yet fit to follow Him to death for righteousness’ sake. For how could they, when they were not ripe for martyrdom? Or how could they follow our Lord to immortality, they who v ere to die, and not to rise again till the end of the world? Or how could tines follow Him to the bosom of the Father, when none could partake of that felicity, but they whose love was perfected? When He told the Jews this, He did not add now. But the disciples, though they could not follow Him then, would be able to do so afterwards, and therefore He adds, So now I say to you.

ORIGEN. As if He said, I say it to you, but with the addition of now, The Jews, who He foresaw would die in their sins, would never be able to follow Him; but the disciples were unable only for a little time.

CHRYS. And therefore He said, little children; for He did not mean to speak to them, as He had to the Jews. you cannot follow Me now, He says, in order to rouse the love of His disciples. For the departure of loved friends kindles all our affection, and especially if they are going to a place where we cannot follow them. He purposely too speaks of His death, as a kind of translation, a happy removal to a place, where here mortal bodies do not enter

AUG. And now He teaches them how to fit themselves to follow. Him: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. But does not the old law say, you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev_19:18)? Why then does He call it a new commandment? Is it because it strips us of the old man, and puts on us the new? That it renews the hearer, or rather the doer of it? Love does do this; but it is that love which our Lord distinguishes from the carnal affection: As I have loved you, that you also love one another. Not the love with which men love one another, but that of the children of the Most High God, w ho would be brethren of His only-begotten Son, and therefore love one another with that love with which He loved them, and would lead them to the fulfillment of their desires.

CHRYS. Or, as I have loved you: for My love has not been the payment of something owing to you, but had its beginning on My side. And you ought in like manner to do one another good, though you may not owe it.

AUG. But; do not think that that greater commandment, viz. that we: should love the Lord our God, is passed by. For, if we understand the two precepts aright, each is implied in the other. He who loves God cannot despise His commandment that he should love his neighbor; and he who loves his neighbor in a heavenly spiritual way, in the neighbor loves God. That is the love which our Lord distinguishes from all human love, when He adds, As I have loved you, what did He, in loving us, love, but God in us; not who was in us, but so that He might be? Wherefore let each of us so love the other, as that by this working of love, we make each other the habitations of God.

CHRYS. Passing over the miracles, which they were to perform, He makes love: the distinguishing mark of His followers; By this shall all men know that you are My disciples’ if you have love one to another. This it is that evidences the saint or the disciple, as He calls him.

AUG. As if He said, Other gifts are shared with you by those who are not mine; birth, life, sense, reason, and such good things as belong alike to man and brutes; nay, and tongues, sacraments, prophecy, knowledge, faith, bestowing of goods upon the poor,; giving the body to be burned: but forasmuch as they have not charity, they are tinkling cymbals, they are nothing: nothing profits them.

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One Response to Aquinas’ Catena Aurea On John 13:31-35

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C | stjoeofoblog

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