Corpus Christi – Luke 9:17

17 And they did all eat, and were filled. And there were taken up of fragments that remained to them, twelve baskets.

Cyril: That this might be a manifest proof that a work of love to our neighbor will claim a rich reward from God.

Theophylact: That we might learn the value of hospitality, and how much our own store is increased when we help those that need.

Chrysostom: He caused not loaves to remain over, but fragments, that He might shew them to be the remnants of the loaves, and these were made to be of that number, that there might be as many baskets as disciples.

Ambrose: Here the bread which Jesus broke is mystically indeed the word of God, and discourse concerning Christ, which when it is divided is increased. For from these few words, He ministered abundant nourishment to the people.

Not without meaning are the fragments which remained over and above what the multitudes had eaten, collected by the disciples, since those things which are divine you may more easily find among the elect than among the people. Blessed is he who can collect those which remain over and above even to the learned. But for what reason did Christ fill twelve baskets, except that He might solve that word concerning the Jewish people, His hands served in the basket? {Ps 81:6] that is, the people who before collected mud for the pots, now through the cross of Christ gather up the nourishment of the heavenly life. Nor is this the office of few, but all. For by the twelve baskets, as if of each of the tribes, the foundation of the faith is spread abroad.

Bede: By the twelve baskets the twelve Apostles are figured, and all succeeding teachers, despised indeed by men without, but within loaded with the fragments of saving food.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).

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Corpus Christi – Luke 9:14-16

14 Now there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples: Make them sit down by fifties in a company. 15 And they did so; and made them all sit down.

Augustine: That Luke says here, that the men were ordered to sit down by fifties, but Mark, by fifties and hundreds [Mark 6:40], does not matter, seeing that one spoke of a part, the other of the whole.

16 And taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed them; and he broke, and distributed to his disciples, to set before the multitude.

Chrysostom: To make men believe that He came from the Father, Christ when He was about to work the miracle looked up to heaven.

Cyril: This also He did purposely for our sakes, that we may learn that at the commencement of a feast when we are going to break bread, we ought to offer thanks for it to God, and to draw forth the heavenly blessing upon it.

Chrysostom: He Himself is both the Giver of food, and, the same who said, Let the earth bring forth, etc. [Gen 1:11] He makes also the fishes to increase [Gen 1:22], to signify that He has dominion over the seas, as well as the dry land.

Bede: Our Savior does not create new food for the hungry multitudes, but He took those things which the disciples had and blessed them, since coming in the flesh He preaches nothing else than what had been foretold, but demonstrates the words of prophecy to be pregnant with the mysteries of grace; He looks towards heaven, that thither He may teach us to direct the eye of the mind, there to seek the light of knowledge; He breaks and distributes to the disciples to be placed before the multitude, because He revealed to them the Sacraments of the Law and the Prophets that they might preach them to the world.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).

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Corpus Christi – Luke 9:11b-13

11 When the people knew, they followed him; and he received them, and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and healed them who had need of healing.

Theophylact: Our Lord went into a desert place because He was about to perform the miracle of the loaves of bread, that no one should say that the bread was brought from the neighboring cities.

Chrysostom: Or He went into a desert place that no one might follow Him.

12 Now the day began to decline. And the twelve came and said to him: Send away the multitude, that going into the towns and villages round about, they may lodge and get victuals; for we are here in a desert place. 13 But he said to them: Give you them to eat. . . .

Bede: When the day was going down, he refreshes the multitudes, that is, as the end of the world approaches, or when the Sun of righteousness sets for us.

Cyril: Mark the overflowing kindness of Him who is asked. He not only grants those things which the disciples seek, but to those who follow Him, He supplies the bounty of a munificent hand, commanding food to be set before them.

Theophylact: He said not this as ignorant of their answer, but wishing to induce them to tell Him how much bread they had, that so a great miracle might be manifested through their confession, when the quantity of bread was made known.

13 . . . And they said: We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless perhaps we should go and buy food for all this multitude.

Cyril: This was a command which the disciples were unable to comply with, since they had with them but five loaves and two fishes.

Bede: The Apostles had only got but the five loaves of the Mosaic law, and the two fishes of each covenant.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).

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Corpus Christi – Mark 14:24-26

24 And he said to them: This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many.

Pseudo-Jerome: “Which is shed for many.” For it does not cleanse all.

25 Amen I say to you, that I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new in the kingdom of God.

Theophylact: I will not drink wine until the Resurrection; for He calls His Resurrection “the kingdom,” as He then reigned over death. But after His Resurrection He ate and drank with His disciples, shewing that it was He Himself who had suffered. But He drank it “new,” that is, in a new and strange manner, for He had not a body subject to suffering, and requiring food, but immortal and incorruptible.

We may also understand it in this way. The vine is the Lord Himself. By the offspring (genimen) of the vine is meant mysteries, and the secret understanding, which He Himself begets (gererat), Who teaches man knowledge. But in the kingdom of God, that is, in the world to come, He will drink with His disciples mysteries and knowledge, teaching us new things, and revealing what He now hides.

Bede: That day shall come, when in the kingdom of Heaven, that is, raised on high with the glory of immortal life, I will be filled with a new joy, together with you, for the salvation of the same people born again of the fountain of spiritual grace.

26 And when they had said an hymn, they went forth to the mount of Olives.

Theophylact: As they returned thanks, before they drank, so they return thanks after drinking; . . . to teach us to return thanks both before and after our food.

He also shews by this that He was glad to die for us. . . . He also teaches us when we fall into troubles for the sake of the salvation of many, not to be sad, but to give thanks to God, Who through our distress works the salvation of many.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Corpus Christi – Mark 14:23

23 And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it.

Pseudo-Jerome: “He gave it to them.” For we are saved by the grace of the Lord, not by our own deserts.

Bede: The wine of the Lord’s cup is mixed with water, because we should remain in Christ and Christ in us. For on the testimony of John, the waters are the people [Rev 17:15], and it is not lawful for any one to offer either wine alone, or water alone, lest such an oblation should mean that the head may be severed from the members, and either that Christ could suffer without love for our redemption, and that we can be saved or be offered to the Father without His Passion.

Chrysostom: Christ offered His Blood to him who betrayed Him, that he might have remission of his sins, if he had chosen to cease to be wicked.

Pseudo-Jerome: Judas therefore drinks and is not satisfied, nor can he quench the thirst of the everlasting fire, because he unworthily partakes of the Mysteries of Christ. There are some in The Church whom the Sacrifice does not cleanse, but their foolish thought draws them on to sin, for they have plunged themselves in the stinking slough of cruelty.

Chrysostom: Let there not be therefore a Judas at the table of the Lord; this Sacrifice is spiritual food, for as bodily food, working on a belly filled with humours which are opposed to it, is hurtful, so this spiritual food if taken by one polluted with wickedness, rather brings him to perdition, not by its own nature, but through the fault of the recipient. Let therefore our mind be pure in all things, and our thought pure, for that Sacrifice is pure.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Corpus Christi – Mark 14:22

22 And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body.

Bede: When the rites of the old Passover were finished, He passed to the new, in order, that is, to substitute the Sacrament of His own Body and Blood, for the flesh and blood of the lamb. Wherefore there follows: “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread”; that is, in order to shew that He, Himself, is that person to whom the Lord swore, “Thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedec” [Ps 110:4].

Bede: He Himself also breaks the bread, which He gives to His disciples, to shew that the breaking of His Body was to take place, not against His Will, nor without His intervention; He also blessed it, because He with the Father and the Holy Spirit filled His human nature, which He took upon Him in order to suffer, with the grace of Divine power. He blessed bread and brake it, because He deigned to subject to death His manhood, which He had taken upon Him in such a way as to shew that there was within it the power of Divine immortality, and to teach them that therefore He would the more quickly raise it from the dead.

Theophylact: The bread is not a mere figure of the Body of Christ, but is changed into the very Body of Christ. For the Lord said, “The bread which I give you is My Flesh” [John 6:51]. But the Flesh of Christ is veiled from our eyes on account of our weakness, for bread and wine are things to which we are accustomed, if however we saw flesh and blood we could not bear to take them. For this reason the Lord bending Himself to our weakness keeps the forms of bread and wine, but changes the bread and wine into the reality of His Body and Blood.

Chrysostom: Even now also that Christ is close to us; He Who prepared that table, Himself also consecrates it. For it is not man who makes the offerings to be the Body and Blood of Christ, but Christ Who was crucified for us. The words are spoken by the mouth of the Priest, and are consecrated by the power and the grace of God. By this word which He spoke, “This is My Body,” the offerings are consecrated; and as that word which says, “Increase and multiply, and fill the earth” [Gen 1:28], was sent forth but once, yet has its effect throughout all time, when nature does the work of generation; so also that voice was spoken once, yet gives confirmation to the Sacrifice through all the tables of The Church even to this day, even to His advent.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Corpus Christi – Mark 14:14-16

14 And whithersoever he shall go in, say to the master of the house, The master saith, Where is my refectory, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? 15 And he will shew you a large dining room furnished; and there prepare ye for us. 16 And his disciples went their way, and came into the city; and they found as he had told them, and they prepared the pasch.

Pseudo-Jerome: The lord of the house is the Apostle, Peter, to who the Lord has entrusted His house, that there may be one faith under one Shepherd. The large upper-room is the wide-spread Church, in which the Name of the Lord is spoken of, prepared by a variety of powers and tongues.

Bede: The large upper-room is spiritually the Law, which comes forth from the narrowness of the letter, and in a lofty place, that is, in the lofty chamber of the soul, receives the Saviour. But it is designedly that the names both of the bearer of the water, and of the lord of the house, are omitted, to imply that power is given to all who wish to celebrate the true Passover, that is, to be embued with the Sacraments of Christ, and to receive Him in the dwelling-place of their mind.

Theophylact: The lord of the house is the intellect, which points out the large upper room, that is, the loftiness of intelligences, and which, though it be high, yet has nothing of vain glory, or of pride, but is prepared and made level by humility.

Chrysostom: Himself became our Passover. Why too did He eat it? Because He was “made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law” [Gal 4:4-5], and Himself gave rest to the Law. And lest any one should say that He did away with it, because He could not fulfil its hard and difficult obedience, He first Himself fulfilled it, and then set it to rest.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).

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