Lent III – John 2:16

16 And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic.

Alcuin: To take the passage mystically, God enters His Church spiritually every day, and marks each one’s behavior there. Let us be careful then, when we are in God’s Church, that we indulge not in stories, or jokes, or hatreds, or lusts, lest on a sudden He come and scourge us, and drive us out of His Church.

Bede: They then are the sellers of doves, who, after receiving the free grace of the Holy Spirit, do not dispense it freely , as they are commanded, but at a price: who confer the laying on of hands, by which the Holy Spirit is received, if not for money, at least for the sake of getting favor with the people, who bestow Holy Orders not according to merit, but favor.

Augustine: By the oxen may be understood the Apostles and Prophets, who have dispensed to us the holy Scriptures. Those who by these very Scriptures deceive the people, from whom they seek honor, sell the oxen; and they sell the sheep too, i.e. the people themselves; and to whom do they sell them, but to the devil?

Bede: The sheep are works of purity and piety, and they sell the sheep, who do works of piety to gain the praise of men. They exchange money in the temple, who, in the Church, openly devote themselves to secular business. And besides those who seek for money, or praise, or honor from Holy Orders, those too make the Lord’s house a house of merchandize, who do not employ the rank, or spiritual grace, which they have received in the Church at the Lord’s hands, with singleness of mind, but with an eye to human recompense.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. IV (London: Rivington, 1845).

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Lent III – John 2:13-15

13 And the pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Alcuin: The Gospels mention two journeys of our Lord to Jerusalem, one in the first year of His preaching, before John was sent to prison, which is the journey now spoken of; the other in the year of His Passion. Our Lord has set us here an example of careful obedience to the Divine commands. For if the Son of God fulfilled the injunctions of His own law, by keeping the festivals, like the rest, with what holy zeal should we servants prepare for and celebrate them?

14 And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.

Bede: Our Lord on coming to Jerusalem, immediately entered the temple to pray; giving us an example that, wheresoever we go, our first visit should be to the house of God to pray.

Those however, who came from a distance, being unable to bring with them the animals required for sacrifice, brought the money instead. For their convenience the Scribes and Pharisees ordered animals to be sold in the temple.

15 And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew.

Bede: The Evangelist sets before us both natures of Christ: the human in that His mother accompanied Him to Capernaum; the divine, in that He said, Make not My Father’s house an house of merchandize.

Augustine: Every one by his sins twists for himself a cord, in that he goes on adding sin to sin. So then when men suffer for their iniquities, let them be sure that it is the Lord making a scourge of small cords, and admonishing them to change their lives.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. IV (London: Rivington, 1845).

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Lent II – Matt 17:6-9

6 And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid.

Remigius: Whereas the holy Apostles fell upon their faces, that was a proof of their sanctity, for the saints are always described to fall upon their faces, but the wicked to fall backwards. [Gen 49, 17; Isa 28, 13; John 18, 6]

7 And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not.

Jerome: And whereas they were laid down, and could not raise themselves again, He approaches them, touches them gently, that by His touch their fear might be banished, and their unnerved limbs gain strength. . . . He first banishes their fear, that He may after impart teaching.

8 And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus.

Jerome: Had Moses and Elias continued with the Lord, it might have seemed uncertain to which in particular the witness of the Father was borne. Also they see Jesus standing after the cloud has been removed, and Moses and Elias disappeared, because after the shadow of the Law and Prophets has departed, both are found in the Gospel.

9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

Jerome: He will not be preached among the people, lest the marvel of the thing should seem incredible, and lest the cross following after so great glory should cause offence.

Remigius: If His majesty should be published among the people, they should hinder the dispensation of His passion, by resistance to the chief Priests; and thus the redemption of the human race should suffer impediment.

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

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Lent II – Matt 17:5

5 And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.

Chrysostom: When the Lord threatens, He shews a dark cloud, as on Sinai [Exod 19:9]; but here where He sought not to terrify but to teach, there appeared a bright cloud.

Origen: The bright cloud overshadowing the Saints is the Power of the Father, or perhaps the Holy Spirit; or I may also venture to call the Saviour that bright cloud which overshadows the Gospel, the Law, and the Prophets, as they understand who can behold His light in all these three.

Chrysostom: Fear not then, Peter; for if God is mighty, it is manifest that the Son is also mighty; wherefore if He is loved, fear not thou; for none forsakes Him whom He loves; nor dost thou love Him equally with the Father. Neither does He love Him merely because He begot Him, but because He is of one will with Himself; as it follows, “In whom I am well pleased;” which is to say, in whom I rest content, whom I accept, for all things of the Father He performs with care, and His will is one with the Father; so if He will to be crucified, do not then speak against it.

Remigius: He says therefore, “Hear Him,” as much as to say, Let the shadow of the Law be past, and the types of the Prophets, and follow ye the one shining light of the Gospel. Or He says, “Hear ye Him,” to shew that it was He whom Moses had foretold, “The Lord your God shall raise up a Prophet unto you of your brethren like unto me, Him shall ye hear.” [Deut 18:18]

Origen: The voice out of the cloud speaks either to Moses or Elias, who desired to see the Son of God, and to hear Him; or it is for the teaching of the Apostles.

Gloss: The mystery of the second regeneration, that, to wit, which shall be in the resurrection, when the flesh shall be raised again, agrees well with the mystery of the first which is in baptism, when the soul is raised again. For in the baptism of Christ is shewn the working of the whole Trinity; there was the Son incarnate, the Holy Ghost appearing in the figure of a dove, and the Father made known by the voice. In like manner in the transfiguration, which is the sacrament of the second regeneration, the whole Trinity appeared; the Father in the voice, the Son in the man, and the Holy Spirit in the cloud. It is made a question how the Holy Spirit was shewn there in the dove, here in the cloud. Because it is His manner to mark His gifts by specific outward forms. And the gift of baptism is innocence, which is denoted by the bird of purity. But as in the resurrection, He is to give splendour and refreshment, therefore in the cloud are denoted both the refreshment and the brightness of the rising bodies.

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

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Lent II – Matt 17:1-4

1 And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart:

Origen: In six days this whole visible world was made; so he who is above all the things of this world, may ascend into the high mountain, and there see the glory of the Word of God.

2 And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow.

Gloss: Christ shadows out the saints, of whom Esaias says, “With all these shalt thou clothe thee as with a garment;” [Isa 49:18] and they are likened to snow because they shall be white with virtues, and all the heat of vices shall be put far away from them.

3 And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Chrysostom: Because the multitudes said He was Elias, or Jeremias, or one of the Prophets, He here brings with Him the chief of the Prophets, that hence at least may be seen the difference between the servants and their Lord.

Origen: If any man discerns a spiritual sense in the Law agreeing with the teaching of Jesus, and in the Prophets finds “the hidden wisdom of Christ,” [1 Cor 2:7] he beholds Moses and Elias in the same glory with Jesus.

4 And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

Jerome: If thou wilt have three tabernacles, set not the servants equal with their Lord, but make three tabernacles, yea make one for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that They whose divinity is one, may have but one tabernacle, in thy bosom.

Remigius: He was wrong moreover, in desiring that the kingdom of the elect should be set up on earth, when the Lord had promised to give it in heaven. He was wrong also in forgetting that himself and his fellows were mortal, and in desiring to come to eternal felicity without taste of death.

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

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Lent I – Luke 4:9-13

9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, . . .

Ambrose: The next weapon he uses is that of boasting, which always causes the offender to fall down; for they who love to boast of the glory of their virtue descend from the stand and vantage ground of their good deeds.

9 . . . and he said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself from hence.

Athanasius: The devil entered not into a contest with God, (for he durst not, and therefore said, If thou art the Son of God,) but he contended with man whom once he had power to deceive.

Ambrose: It is the fate of boasting, that while a man thinks he is climbing higher, he is by his pretension to lofty deeds brought low.

That is truly the devil’s language, which seeks to cast down the soul of man from the high ground of its good deeds, while he shows at the same time both his weakness and malice, for he can injure no one that does not first cast himself down. For he who forsaking heavenly things pursues earthly, rushes as it were willfully down the self-sought precipice of a falling life.

10 For it is written, that He hath given his angels charge over thee, that they keep thee. 11 And that in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Ambrose: Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and often from the Holy Scriptures weaves his mesh for the faithful.

Let not the heretic entrap thee by bringing examples from the Scriptures. The devil makes use of the testimony of the Scriptures not to teach but to deceive.

Origen: Mark how wily he is even in this testimony. For he would fain throw a slur upon the glory of the Savior, as though He needed the assistance of angels, and would stumble were He not supported by their hands. But this was said not of Christ, but of the saints generally; He needs not the aid of angels, Who is greater than angels. But let this teach thee, Satan, that the angels would stumble did not God sustain them; and thou stumblest, because thou refusest to believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

12 And Jesus answering, said to him: It is said: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Chrysostom: It is of the devil to cast one’s self into dangers, and try whether God will rescue us.

Cyril: God gives not help to those who tempt Him, but to those who believe on Him.

13 And all the temptation being ended, the devil departed from him for a time.

Ambrose: He would not have said that all the temptation was ended, had there not been in the three temptations which have been described the materials for every crime; for the causes of temptations are the causes of desire, namely, the delight of the flesh, the pomp of vain-glory, greediness of power.

Theophylact: Having tempted Him in the desert with pleasure, he retires from Him until the crucifixion, when he was about to tempt Him with sorrow.

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

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Lent I – Luke 4:5-8

5 And the devil led him into a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time;

Theophylact: The enemy had first assailed Christ by the temptation of the appetite, as also he did Adam. He next tempts Him with the desire of gain or covetousness, shewing Him all the kingdoms of the world.

Some say that he presented them to Him in imagination, but I hold that he brought them before Him in visible form and appearance.

Titus of Bostra: Or, the devil described the world in language, and as he thought brought it vividly before our Lord’s mind.

6 And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them.

Titus of Bostra: He lied in two respects. For he neither had to give nor could he give that which he had not.

Ambrose: All power is from God. Therefore from God’s hands comes the disposal of power, the lust of power is from the evil one; power is not itself evil, but he who evilly uses it.

7 If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine.

Ambrose: In order to rule others a man is first their servant, and prostrates himself in obedience that he may be rewarded with honors, and the higher he aspires the lower he bends with feigned humility.

8 And Jesus answering said to him: It is written: Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Cyril: This command touched him to the quick; for before Christ’s coming he was every where worshipped. But the law of God casting him down from his usurped dominion, establishes the worship of Him alone who is really God.

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

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