St. Joseph – Luke 2:51a

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.

Origen: Jesus frequently went down with His disciples, for He is not always dwelling on the mount, for they who were troubled with various diseases were not able to ascend the mount. For this reason now also He went down to them who were below.

Greek Expositor: Sometimes by His word He first institutes laws, and He afterwards confirms them, by His work, as when He says, The good shepherd layeth down his life for his sheep [John 10:11]. For shortly after seeking our salvation He poured out His own life. But sometimes He first sets forth in Himself an example, and afterwards, as far as words can go, draws therefrom rules of life, as He does here, shewing forth by His work these three things above the rest, the love of God, honor to parents, but the preferring God also to our parents.

Bede: What is the teacher of virtue, unless he fulfill his duty to his parents? What else did He do among us, than what He wished should be done by us?

Origen: Let us then also ourselves be subject to our parents. But if our fathers are not, let us be subject to those who are our fathers. Jesus the Son of God is subject to Joseph and Mary. But I must be subject to the Bishop who has been constituted my father. It seems that Joseph knew that Jesus was greater than he, and therefore in awe moderated his authority. But let every one see, that oftentimes he who is subject is the greater. Which if they who are higher in dignity understand, they will not be elated with pride, knowing that their superior is subject to them.

Gregory of Nyssa: The young have not yet perfect understanding, and have need to be led forward by those who have advanced to a more perfect state; therefore when He arrived at twelve years, He is obedient to His parents, to shew that whatever is made perfect by moving forward, before that it arrives at the end profitably embraces obedience.

Basil: From His very first years being obedient to His parents, He endured all bodily labors, humbly and reverently. For since His parents were honest and just, yet at the same time poor, and ill supplied with the necessaries of life, (as the stable which administered to the holy birth bears witness,) it is plain that they continually underwent bodily fatigue in providing for their daily wants. But Jesus being obedient to them, as the Scriptures testify, even in sustaining labors, submitted Himself to a complete subjection.

Ambrose: Can you wonder if He who is subject to His mother, also submits to His Father? Surely that subjection is a mark not of weakness but of filial duty.

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

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St. Joseph – Luke 2:48-50

48 And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

Origen: The Holy Spirit honored Joseph by the name of father, because he brought up the Child Jesus.

They sought Jesus, lest perchance leaving them he should have returned to heaven, thither to descend when He would. He then who seeks Jesus must go about it not carelessly and idly, as many seek Him who never find Him, but with labor and sorrow.

Gloss: They feared lest Herod who sought Him in His infancy, now that He was advanced to boyhood might find an opportunity of putting Him to death.

49 And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business?

Bede: He blames them not that they seek Him as their son, but compels them to raise the eyes of their mind to what was rather due to Him whose eternal Son He was.

Epiphanius: From His very childhood He acknowledged both the temple and His Father.

50 And they understood not the word that he spoke unto them.

Bede: And they understood him not, that is, the word which He spoke to them of His divinity.

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

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St. Joseph – Luke 2:45-47

45 And not finding him, they returned into Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions.

Origen: Learn where those who seek Him find Him, not every where, but in the temple. And do thou then seek Jesus in the temple of God. Seek Him in the Church, and seek Him among the masters who are in the temple. For if thou wilt so seek Him, thou shalt find Him. They found Him not among His kinsfolk, for human relations could not comprehend the Son of God; not among His acquaintance, for He passes far beyond all human knowledge and understanding. Where then do they find Him? In the temple!

Ambrose: After three days He is found in the temple, that it might be for a sign, that after three days of victorious suffering, He who was believed to be dead should rise again, and manifest Himself to our faith, seated in heaven with divine glory.

Origen: Because moreover He was the Son of God, He is found in the midst of the doctors, enlightening and instructing them. But because He was a little child, He is found among them not teaching but asking questions. . . . And this He did as a duty of reverence, that He might set us an example of the proper behavior of children, though they be wise and learned, rather to hear their masters than teach them, and not to vaunt themselves with empty boasting. But He asked not that He might learn, but that asking He might instruct. For from the same source of learning is derived both the power of asking and answering wisely.

Bede: To show that He was a man, He humbly listened to the masters; but to prove that He was God, He divinely answered those who spoke.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers.

Greek Expositor: He asks questions with reason, He listens with wisdom, and answers with more wisdom, so as to cause astonishment.

Chrysostom: The Lord truly did no miracle in His childhood, yet this one fact St. Luke mentions, which made men look with wonder upon Him.

Bede: From His tongue there went forth divine wisdom, while His age exhibited man’s helplessness, and hence the Jews, amid the high things they hear and the lowly things they see, are perplexed with doubts and astonishment. But we can in no wise wonder, knowing the words of the Prophet, that thus unto us a Is Child is born, that He abideth the mighty God. [Isa 9:6]

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

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St. Joseph – Luke 2:41-44

41 And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch,

Augustine: When the Angel said in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Rise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel, it was at first understood by Joseph as a command to go into Judea, for so at first sight the land of Israel might have been taken to mean. But when afterwards he finds that Herod’s son Archelaus was king, he was unwilling to be exposed to that danger, seeing the land of Israel might also be understood to include Galilee also as a part of it, for there also the people of Israel dwelt.

Chrysostom: The law commanded men not only to observe the time, but the place, and so the Lord’s parents wished to celebrate the feast of the Passover only at Jerusalem.

Augustine: How did His parents go up all the years of Christ’s childhood to Jerusalem, if they were prevented from going there by fear of Archelaus? . . . It were possible that on the feast day amid so great a crowd they might secretly come, and soon return again, at the same time that they feared to remain there on other days, so as neither to be wanting in religious duties by neglecting the feast, nor leave themselves open to detection by a constant abode there.

42 And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast,

Bede: That the Lord came up every year to Jerusalem at the Passover, betokens His humility as a man, for it is man’s duty to meet together to offer sacrifices to God, and conciliate Him with prayers. Accordingly the Lord as man, did among men what God by angels commanded men to do. . . . Let us follow then the journey of His mortal life, if we delight to behold the glory of His divine nature.

43 And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not.

Greek Expositor: The reason of His tarrying behind in secret was, that His parents might not be a hindrance to His carrying on the discussion with the lawyers; or perhaps to avoid appearing to despise his parents by not obeying their commands. He remains therefore secretly, that he might neither be kept away nor be disobedient.

44 And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance.

Bede: The custom of the children of Israel while assembling at Jerusalem on the feast days, or returning to their homes, was for the women and men to go separately, and the infants or children to go with either parent indiscriminately. And so both Mary and Joseph each thought in turn that the Child Jesus, whom they saw not with them, was returning with the other parent.

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

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Lent V – John 11:44-45

44 And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding bands; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: Loose him, and let him go.

Chrysostom: He came forth bound, that none might suspect that he was a mere phantom. . . . Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, that by going near and touching him they might be certain he was the very person. And let him go. His humility is strewn here; He does not take Lazarus about with Him for the sake of display.

Gregory: The maiden is restored to life in the house [Matt 9:18-25], the young man outside the gate [Luke 7:11-17], Lazarus in his grave. She that lies dead in the house, is the sinner dying in sin: he that is carried out by the gate is the openly and notoriously wicked.

Augustine: Or, it is death within; when the evil thought has not come out into action. But if you actually do the evil thing, you have as it were carried the dead outside the gate.

Gregory: And one there is who lies dead in his grave, with a load of earth upon him; i.e. who is weighed down by habits of sin. But the Divine grace has regard even to such, and enlightens them.

Augustine: Or we may take Lazarus in the grave as the soul laden with earthly sins.

And yet our Lord loved Lazarus. For had He not loved sinners, He would never have come down from heaven to save them. Well is it said of one of sinful habits, that He stinks.

That Lazarus came forth from the grave, signifies the soul’s deliverance from carnal sins. That he came bound up in grave clothes means, that even we who are delivered from carnal things, and serve with the mind the law of God, yet cannot, so long as we are in the body, be free from the besetments of the flesh. That his face was bound about with a napkin means, that we do not attain to full knowledge in this life. And when our Lord says, Loose him, and let him go, we learn that in another world all veils will be removed, and that we shall see face to face.

Or thus: When thou despisest, thou liest dead; when thou confessest, thou comest forth. For what is to come forth, but to go out, as it were, of your hiding place, and show yourself? But you cannot make this confession, except God move you to it, by crying with a loud voice, i.e. calling you with great grace. But even after the dead man has come forth, he remains bound for some time, i.e. is as yet only a penitent. Then our Lord says to His ministers, Loose him, and let him go, i.e. remit his sins: Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. [Matt 18:18]

Alcuin: Christ awakes, because His power it is which quickens us inwardly: the disciples loose, because by the ministry of the priesthood, they who are quickened are absolved.

45 Many therefore of the Jews, who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in him.

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

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Lent V – John 11:41-43

41 They took therefore the stone away. . . .

Origen: The delay in taking away the stone was caused by the sister of the dead, who said, By this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days.

41 . . . And Jesus lifting up his eyes said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

Alcuin: Christ, as man, being inferior to the Father, prays to Him for Lazarus’s resurrection; and declares that He is heard.

Origen: He lifted up His eyes; mystically, He lifted up the human mind by prayer to the Father above. We should pray after Christ’s pattern, Lift up the eyes of our heart, and raise them above present things in memory, in thought, in intention. If to them who pray worthily after this fashion is given the promise in Isaiah, Thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. [Isa 58:9]

Chrysostom: There is no difference of will between Me and Thee. Thou hast heard Me, does not shew any lack of power in Him, or that He is inferior to the Father. It is a phrase that is used between friends and equals. That the prayer is not really necessary for Him, appears from the words that follow, And I knew that Thou heardest Me always: as if He said, I need not prayer to persuade Thee; for Ours is one will. He hides His meaning on account of the weak faith of His hearers. For God regards not so much His own dignity, as our salvation; and therefore seldom speaks loftily of Himself, and, even when He does, speaks in an obscure way; whereas humble expressions abound in His discourses.

Hilary: He did not therefore need to pray: He prayed for our sakes, that we might know Him to be the Son: . . . His prayer did not benefit Himself, but benefited our faith. He did not want help, but we want instruction.

43 When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth.

Augustine: He calls him by name, that He may not bring out all the dead.

Theophylact: The voice which roused Lazarus, is the symbol of that trumpet which will sound at the general resurrection. (He spoke loud, to contradict the Gentile fable, that the soul remained in the tomb. The soul of Lazarus is called to as if it were absent, and a loud voice were necessary to summon it.)

Origen: The resurrection of Lazarus is the work of the Father also, in that He heard the prayer of the Son. It is the joint work of Father and Son, one praying, the other hearing; for as the Father raises up the dead and quickens them, even so the Son quickens whom He will.

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

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Lent V – John 11:38-40

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulchre. Now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it.

Augustine: And do you too groan in yourself, if you would rise to new life. To every man is this said, who is weighed down by any vicious habit. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. The dead under the stone is the guilty under the Law.

Christ troubleth Himself, to signify to thee that thou shouldest be troubled, when thou art pressed and weighed down with such a mass of sin. Faith groans, he that is displeased with himself groaneth, and accuseth his own evil deeds; that so the habit of sin may yield to the violence of repentance.

39 Jesus saith: Take away the stone. . . .

Augustine: Mystically, take away the burden of the law, proclaim grace.

39 . . . Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to him: Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days.

Augustine: Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, though they had often seen Christ raise the dead, did not fully believe that He could raise their brother.

Theophylact: Martha said this from weakness of faith, thinking it impossible that Christ could raise her brother, so long after death.

Bede: Or, these are not words of despair, but of wonder.

40 Jesus saith to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God?

Chrysostom: She did not remember what He said above, . . . To the disciples He had said That the Son of God might be glorified thereby; here it is the glory of the Father He speaks of.

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

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