45 And the sun was darkened, . . .
Augustine: This darkening of the sun it is quite plain did not happen in the regular and fixed course of the heavenly bodies, because it was then the Passover, which is always celebrated at the full moon. But a regular eclipse of the sun does not take place except at new moon.
Dionysius: We observed that this obscuration began from the east, and having reached as far as the sun’s western border at length returned, and that the loss and restoration of light took place not from the same side, but from opposite sides of the diameter. Such were the miraculous events of that time, and possible to Christ alone who is the cause of all things.
[Ed. note: During a naturally-occurring solar eclipse the obscuration of the sun begins on the western side of the sun and moves across the sun in an eastwardly direction.]
45 . . . and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
Ambrose: The old veil is rent that the Church may hang up the new walls of faith.
Theophylact: The veil which kept us asunder from the holy things which are in heaven, is broken through, namely, enmity and sin.
46 And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. . . .
Bede: By invoking the Father He declares Himself to be the Son of God, but by commending His Spirit, He signifies not the weakness of His strength, but His confidence in the same power with the Father.
Ambrose: The flesh dies that the Spirit may rise again. The Spirit is commended to the Father, that heavenly things also may be loosed from the chain of iniquity, and peace be made in heaven, which earthly things should follow.
Athanasius: He commends to His Father through Himself all mankind quickened in Him; for we are His members; as the Apostle says, Ye are all one in Christ [Gal 3:28].
46 . . . And saying this, he gave up the ghost.
Theophylact: Crying with a loud voice He gives up the ghost, because He had in Himself the power of laying down His life and taking it up again.
Ambrose: He gave up His Spirit, because He did not lose it as one unwilling; for what a man sends forth is voluntary, what he loses, compulsory.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).