Good Friday – John 19:23-24

23 The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lot. And the soldiers indeed did these things.

Augustine: That the Scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted My raiment among them, and for My vesture they did cast lots [Ps 22:18].

Chrysostom: Behold the sureness of prophecy. The Prophet foretold not only what they would part, but what they would not. They parted the raiment, but cast lots for the vesture.

Augustine: The fourfold division of our Lord’s garment represents His Church, spread over the four quarters of the globe, and distributed equally, i.e. in concord, to all. The tunic for which they cast lots signifies the unity of all the parts, which is contained in the bond of love. And if love is the more excellent way, above knowledge, and above all other commandments, according to Colossians, Above all things have charity [Col 3:14], the garment by which this is denoted, is well said to be woven from above. Through the whole, is added, because no one is void of it, who belongs to that whole, from which the Church Catholic is named. It is without seam again, so that it can never come unsown, and is in one piece, i.e. brings all together into one. By the lot is signified the grace of God: for God elects not with respect to person or merits, but according to His own secret counsel.

Chrysostom: According to some, The tunic without seam, woven from above throughout, is an allegory shewing that He who was crucified was not simply man, but also had Divinity from above.

Theophylact: The garment without seam denotes the body of Christ, which was woven from above; for the Holy Ghost came upon the Virgin, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her. This holy body of Christ then is indivisible: for though it be distributed for every one to partake of, and to sanctify the soul and body of each one individually, yet it subsists in all wholly and indivisibly. The world consisting of four elements, the garments of Christ must be understood to represent the visible creation, which the devils divide amongst themselves, as often as they deliver to death the word of God which dwells in us, and by worldly allurements bring us over to their Side.

Augustine: Nor let any one say that these things had no good signification, because they were done by wicked men; for if so, what shall we say of the cross itself?

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

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