33 And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted;
Chrysostom: Not only by the salvation of the good but by the scattering of the wicked, is His power shewn. For the sun the brighter it shines, is the more trying to the weak sight.
The resurrection is a new life and conversation. For when the sensual man becomes chaste, the covetous merciful, the cruel man gentle, a resurrection takes place. Sin being dead, righteousness rises again.
Basil: The sign which is spoken against is called in Scripture, the cross.
Gregory of Nyssa: He has joined together honor and dishonor. For to us Christians this sign is a token of honor, but it is a sign of contradiction, inasmuch by some indeed it is received as absurd and monstrous, by others with the greatest veneration.
35 And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.
Bede: No history tells us that Mary departed this life by being slain with the sword, therefore since not the soul but the body is killed with iron, we are left to understand that sword which is mentioned, And a sword in their lips, that is, grief because of our Lord’s passion passed through her soul, who although she saw Christ the very Son of God die a voluntary death, and doubted not that He who was begotten of her flesh would overcome death, could not without grief see Him crucified.
Ambrose: It shews the wisdom of Mary, that she was not ignorant of the heavenly Majesty.
Gregory of Nyssa: It is not meant that she alone was concerned in that passion, for it is added, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. . . . When all these events took place, there followed the discovery of many men’s intentions. For some confessed God on the cross, others even then ceased not from their blasphemies and revilings. Or this was said, meaning that at the time of the passion the thoughts of men’s hearts should be laid open, and be corrected by the resurrection.
Origen: The evil thoughts of men were revealed, that He Who died for us might slay them; for while they were hidden, it was impossible to utterly destroy them. Hence also when we have sinned we ought to say, Mine iniquity have I not hid. For if we make known our sins not only to God, but to whoever can heal our wounds, our sins will be blotted out.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).