Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 24:13-35

Ver 13. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened.15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.17. And he said to them, What manner of communications are these that you have one to another, as you walk, and are sad?18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said to him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?19. And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:20. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

GLOSS. After the manifestation of Christ’s resurrection made by the Angels to the women, the same resurrection is further manifested by an appearance of Christ Himself to His disciples; as it is said, And behold two of them.

THEOPHYL. Some say that Luke was one of these two, and for this reason concealed his name.

AMBROSE; Or to two of the disciples by themselves our Lord showed Himself in the evening, namely, Ammaon and Cleophas.

AUG. The fortress mentioned here we may not unreasonably take to have been also called according to Mark, a village. He next describes the fortress, saying, which was from Jerusalem about the space of sixty stades, called Emmaus.

BEDE; It is the same as Nicopolis, a remarkable town in Palestine, which after the taking of Judea under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius, changed together with its condition its name also. But the stadium which, as the Greeks say, was invented by Hercules to measure the distances of roads, is the eighth part of a mile; therefore sixty stades are equal to seven miles and fifty paces. And this was the length of journey which they were walking, who were certain about our Lord’s death and burial, but doubtful concerning His resurrection. For the resurrection which took place after the seventh day of the week, no one doubts is implied in the number eight. The disciples therefore as the, walk and converse about the Lord had completed the sixth mile of their journey, for they were grieving that He who had lived without blame, had come at length even to death, which He underwent on the sixth day. They had completed also the seventh mile, for they doubted not that He rested in the grave. But of the eighth mile they had only accomplished half; for the glory of His already triumphant resurrection, they did not believe perfectly.

THEOPHYL. But the disciples above mentioned talked to one another of the things which had happened, not as believing them, but as bewildered at events so extraordinary.

BEDE; And as they spoke of Him, the Lord comes near and joins them, that He may both influence their minds with faith in His resurrection, and fulfill that which He had promised, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there, am I in the midst of them; as it follows, And it came to pass while they communed to-tether and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.

THEOPHYL. For having now obtained a spiritual body, distance of place is no obstacle to His being present to whom he wished, nor did He any further govern His body by natural laws, but spiritually and supernaturally. Hence as Mark says, He appeared to them in a different form, in which they were not permitted to know Him; for it follows, And their eyes were holden that they should not know him; in order truly that they may reveal their entirely doubtful conceptions, and uncovering their wound may receive a cure; and that they might know that although the same body which suffered, rose again, yet it was no longer such as to be visible to all, but only to those by whom He willed it to be seen; and that they should not wonder why henceforth He walks not among the people, seeing that His conversation was not fit for mankind, but rather divine; which is also the character of the resurrection to come, in which we shall walk as the Angels and the sons of God.

GREG. Rightly also he refrained from manifesting to them a form which they might recognize, doing that outwardly in the eyes of the body, which was done by themselves inwardly in tile eyes of the mind. For they in themselves inwardly both loved and doubted. Therefore to them as they talked of Him He exhibited His presence, but as they doubted of Him He concealed the appearance which they knew. He indeed conversed with them, for it follows, And he said to them, What manner of communications, &c.

GREEK EX. They were in truth discoursing among themselves, no longer expecting to see Christ alive, but sorrowing as concerning their Savior slain. Hence it follows, And one of them whose name was Cleophas, answering him said, Are you only a stranger?

THEOPHYL. As if he said, “Are you a mere stranger, and one dwelling beyond the confines of Jerusalem, and therefore unacquainted with what has happened in the midst of it, that you know not these things;

BEDE; Or he says this, because they thought Him a stranger, whose countenance they did not recognize. But in reality He was a stranger to them, from the infirmity of whose natures, now that He had obtained the glory of the resurrection, He was far removed, and to whose faith, as yet ignorant of His resurrection, He remained foreign. But again the Lord asks; for it follows, And he said to them, What things? And their answer is given, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet. They confess Him to be a Prophet, but say nothing of the Son of God; either not yet perfectly believing, or fearful of falling into the hands of the persecuting Jews, either knowing not who He was, or concealing the truth which they believed. They add in praise of Him, mighty in deed and word.

THEOPHYL. First comes deed, then word; for no word of teaching is approved unless first he who teaches shows himself to be a doer thereof. For acting goes before sight; for unless by your works you have cleansed the glass of the understanding, the desired brightness does not appear. But still further it is added, Before God and all the people. For first of all we must please God, and then have regard as far as we can to honesty before men, that placing the honor of God first, we may live without offense to mankind.

GREEK EX. They next assign the cause of their sadness, the betrayal and passion of Christ; and add in the voice of despair, But we hoped it had been he who should trace redeemed Israel. We hoped, (he says,) not we hope; as if the death of the Lord were like to the deaths of other men.

THEOPHYL. For they expected that Christ would redeem Israel from the evils that were rising up among them and the Roman slavery. They trusted also that He was an earthly king, whom they thought would be able to escape the sentence of death passed upon Him.

BEDE; Reason had they then for sorrow, because in some sort they blamed themselves for having hoped redemption in Him whom now they saw dead, and believed not that He would rise again, and most of all they bewailed Him put to death without a cause, whom they knew to be innocent.

THEOPHYL. And yet those men seem not to have been altogether without faith, by what follows, And besides all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Whereby they seem to have a recollection of what the Lord had told them that He would rise again on the third day.

GREEK EX. The disciples also mention the report of the resurrection which was brought by the women; adding, Yes, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, &c. They say this indeed as if they did not believe it; wherefore they speak of themselves as frightened or astonished.

For they did consider as established what was told them, or that there had been an angelic revelation, but derived from it reason for astonishment and alarm. The testimony of Peter also they did not regard as certain, since he did not say that he had seen our Lord, but conjectured His resurrection from the fact that His body was not lying in the sepulcher.

Hence it follows, And certain of them that were with us went, &c.

AUG. But since Luke has said that Peter ran to the sepulcher; and has himself related the words of Cleophas, that some of them went to the sepulcher, he is understood to confirm the testimony of John, that two went to the sepulcher. He first mentioned Peter only, because to him first Mary had related the news.

Ver 25. Then he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.28. And they drew nigh to the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?33. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

THEOPHYL. Because the above-mentioned disciples were troubled with too much doubt, the Lord reproves them, saying, O fools, (for they almost used the same words as those who stood by the cross, He saved others, himself he cannot save.) And He proceeds, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. For it is possible to believe some of these things and not all; as if a man should believe what the Prophets say of the cross of Christ, as in the Psalms, They pierced my hands and my feet; but should not believe what they say of the resurrection, as, You shall not suffer your Holy One to see corruption. But it becomes us in all things to give faith to the Prophets, as well in the glorious things which they predicted of Christ, as the inglorious, since through the suffering of evil things is the entrance into glory.Hence it follows, Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? that is, as respects His humanity.

ISID. PEL. But although it behooved Christ to suffer, yet they who crucified Him are guilty of inflicting the punishment. For they were not concerned to accomplish what God purposed. Therefore their execution of it was impious, but God’s purpose most wise, who converted their iniquity into a blessing upon mankind, using as it were the viper’s flesh for the working of a health-giving antidote.

CHRYS. And therefore our Lord goes on to show that all these things did not happen in a common way, but from the predestined purpose of God. Hence it follows, And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself: As if He said, Since you are slow I will render you quick, by explaining to you the mysteries of the Scriptures. For the sacrifice of Abraham, when releasing Isaac he sacrificed the ram, prefigured Christ’s sacrifice. But in the other writings of the Prophets also there are scattered about mysteries of Christ’s cross and the resurrection.

BEDE; But if Moses and the Prophets spoke of Christ, and prophesied that through His Passion He would enter into glory, how does that man boast that he is a Christian. who neither searches how these Scriptures relate to Christ, nor desires to attain by suffering to that glory which he hopes to have with Christ.

GREEK EX. But since the Evangelist said before, Their eyes were holden that they should not know him, until the words, of the Lord should move their minds to faith, He fitly affords in addition to their hearing a favorable object to their sight As it follows, And they drew night to the fortress whither they were going, and he feigned as if he was going further.

AUG. Now this relates not to falsehood. For not every thing we feign is a falsehood, but only when we feign that which means nothing. But when our feigning has reference to a certain meaning it is not a falsehood, but a kind of figure of the truth. Otherwise all the things figuratively spoken by wise and holy men, or even by our Lord Himself must be accounted falsehoods. For to the experienced understanding truth consists not in certain words, but as words so also deeds are feigned without falsehood to signify a particular thing.

GREG. Because then He was still a stranger to faith in their hearts, He feigned as if he would go further. By the word “fingere” we mean to put together or form, and hence formers or preparers of mud we call “figuli.” He who was the Truth itself did nothing then by deceit, but exhibited Himself in the body such as He came before them in their minds. But because they could not be strangers to charity, with whom charity was walking, they invite Him as if a stranger to partake of their hospitality.  Hence it follows, And they compelled him. From which example it is gathered that strangers are not only to be invited to hospitality, but even to be taken by force.

GLOSS. They not only compel Him by their actions, but induce Him by their words; for it follows, saying, Abide with us, for it is towards evening, and the day is far gone, (that is, towards its close.)

GREG. Now behold Christ since He is received through His members, so He seeks His receivers through Himself; for it follows, And he went in with them.  They lay out a table, they bring food. And God whom they had not known in the expounding of Scriptures, they knew in the breaking of bread; for it follows, And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him.

CHRYS. This was said not of their bodily eyes, but of their mental sight.

AUG. For they walked not with their eyes shut, but there was something within them which did not permit them to know that which they saw, which a mist, darkness, or some kind of moisture, frequently occasions. Not that the Lord was not able to transform His flesh that it should be really a different form from that which they were accustomed to behold; since in truth also before His passion, He was transfigured in the mount, so that His face was bright as the sun. But it was not so now. For we do not unfitly take this obstacle in the sight to have been caused by Satan, that Jesus might not be known. But still it was so permitted by Christ up to the sacrament of the bread, that by partaking of the unity of His body, the obstacle of the enemy might be understood to be removed, so that Christ might be known.

THEOPHYL. But He also implies another thing, that the eyes of those who receive the sacred bread are opened that they should know Christ. For the Lord’s flesh has in it a great and ineffable power.

AUG. Or because the Lord feigned as if He would go farther, when He was accompanying the disciples, expounding to them the sacred Scriptures, who knew not whether it was He, what does He mean to imply but that through the duty of hospitality men may arrive at a knowledge of Him; that when He has departed from mankind far above the heavens, He is still with those who perform this duty to His servants. He therefore holds to Christ, that He should not go far from him, whoever being taught in the word communicates in all good things to him who teaches. For they were taught in the word when He expounded to them the Scriptures. And because they followed hospitality, Him whom they knew not in the expounding of the Scriptures, they know in the breaking of bread. For not the hearers of the law are just before God but the doers of the law shall be justified.

GREG. Whoever then wishes to understand what he has heard, let him hasten to fulfill in work what he can now understand. Behold the Lord was not known when He was speaking, and He vouchsafed to be known when He is eating. It follows, And he vanished out of their sight.

THEOPHYL. For He had not such a body as that He was able to abide longer with them, that thereby likewise He might increase their affections. And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

ORIGEN; By which is implied, that the words uttered by the Savior inflamed the hearts of the hearers to the love of God.

GREG. By the word which is heard the spirit is kindled the chill of dullness departs, the mind becomes awakened with heavenly desire. It rejoices to hear heavenly precepts, and every command in which it is instructed, is as it were adding a faggot to the fire.

THEOPHYL. Their hearts then were turned either by the fire of our Lord’s words, to which they listened as the truth, or because as he expounded the Scriptures, their hearts were greatly struck within them, that He who was speaking was the Lord. Therefore were they so rejoiced, that without delay they returned to Jerusalem. And hence what follows, And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem. They rose up indeed the same hour, but they arrived after many hours, as they had to travel sixty stades.

AUG. It had been already reported that Jesus had risen by the women, and by Simon Peter, to whom He had appeared. For these two disciples found them talking of these things when they came to Jerusalem; as it follows, And they found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them., saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.

BEDE; It seems that our Lord appeared to Peter first of all those whom the four Evangelists and the Apostle mention.

CHRYS. For He did not show Himself to all at the same time, in order that He might sow the seeds of faith. For he who had first seen and was sure, told it to the rest. Afterwards the word going forth prepared the mind of the hearer for the sight, and therefore He appeared first to him who was of all the most worthy and faithful. For He had need of the most faithful soul to first receive this sight, that it might be least disturbed by the unexpected appearance. And therefore He is first seen by Peter, that he who first confessed Christ should first deserve to see His resurrection, and also because he had denied Him He wished to see him first, to console him, lest he should despair. But after Peter, He appeared to the rest, at one time fewer in number, at another more, which the two disciples attest; for it follows, And they told what things were done by the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

AUG. But with respect to what Mark says, that they told the rest, and they did not believe them, whereas Luke says, that they had already begun to say, The Lord is risen indeed, what must we understand, except that there were some even then who refused to believe this?

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One Response to Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 24:13-35

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year A | stjoeofoblog

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