Christ the King – Matt 25:44-45

44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?

Origen: Mark how the righteous dwell upon each word, while the unrighteous answer summarily, and not going through the particular instances; for so it becomes the righteous out of humility to disclaim each individual generous action, when imputed to them publicly; whereas bad men excuse their sins, and endeavour to prove them few and venial.

45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

Origen: To the righteous He says, “In that ye did it to my brethren,” to shew the greatness of their good deeds; to the sinners He says only, “to one of the least of these,” not aggravating their sin. For they are truly His brethren who are perfect; and a deed of mercy shewn to the more holy is more acceptable to God than one shewn to the less holy; and the sin of overlooking the less holy is less than of overlooking the more holy.

Augustine: He is now treating of the last judgment, when Christ shall come from heaven to judge the quick and dead. This day of the Divine judgment we call the Last Day, that is, the end of time; for we cannot tell through how many days that judgment will be prolonged; but day, as is the use of holy Scripture, is put for time. And we therefore call it the last or latest judgment, because He both now judges and has judged from the beginning of the human race, when He thrust forth the first man from the tree of life, and spared not the Angels that sinned. But in that final judgment both men and Angels shall be judged together, when the Divine power shall bring each man’s good and evil deeds in review before his memory, and one intuitive glance shall present them to the perception, so that at once we shall be condemned or acquitted in our consciences.

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

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Christ the King – Matt 25:41

41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.

Origen: As then the soul dwelling in the body, though it hungers not in respect of its spiritual substance, yet hungers for the food of the body, because it is yoked to the body; so the Saviour suffers whatever His body the Church suffers.

Observe how in speaking to the righteous He reckons up their good deeds under their several kinds, but to the unrighteous He cuts short the description under the one head, “I was sick and in prison, and ye visited me not,” because it was the part of a merciful Judge to enlarge and dwell upon men’s good deeds, but to pass lightly and cursorily over their evil deeds.

Of all blessing the Father is the author, but each man is the origin of his own curse when he does the things that deserve the curse.

Chrysostom: Observe how they had failed in mercifulness, not in one or two respects only, but in all; not only did they not feed Him when He was hungry, but they did not even visit Him when He was sick, which was easier. And look how light things He enjoins; He said not, “I was in prison,” and ye did not set me free, but, and “ye visited me not.” Also His hunger required no costly dainties, but necessary food.

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

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Christ the King – Matt 25:37-40

37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?

Origen: It is from humility that they declare themselves unworthy of any praise for their good deeds, not that they are forgetful of what they have done.

Rabanus: “Lord, when saw we thee etc.” This they say not because they distrust the Lord’s words, but they are in amaze at so great exaltation, and at the greatness of their own glory; or because the good which they have done will seem to them to be so small according to that of the Apostle, “For the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us” [Rom 8:18].

40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

Jerome: When He says, “In that ye have done it to one of the least of these my brethren,” He seems to me not to speak of the poor generally, but of the poor in spirit.

Chrysostom: If they are His brethren, why does He call them “the least?” Because they are lowly, poor, and outcast. By these He means not only the monks who have retired to the mountains, but every believer though he should be secular, though an hungred, or the like, yet He would have him obtain merciful succours, for baptism and communication of the Divine mysteries makes him a brother.

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

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Christ the King – Matt 25:34-35

34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Chrysostom: Observe that He says not Receive,’ but “possess,” or “inherit,” as due to you from of old.

Jerome: This “prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” is to be understood as of the foreknowledge of God, with whom things to come are as already done.

35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me.

Remigius: The Lord here enumerates six works of mercy which whoso shall study to accomplish shall be entitled to the kingdom prepared for the chosen from the foundation of the world.

Rabanus: Mystically, He who with the bread of the word and the drink of wisdom refreshes the soul hungering and thirsting after righteousness, or admits into the home of our mother the Church him who is wandering in heresy or sin, or who strengthens the weak in faith, such an one discharges the obligations of true love.

Origen: In whatsoever matters any one does Christ’s commands, he gives Christ meat and drink, Who feeds ever upon the truth and righteousness of His faithful people. So do we weave raiment for Christ when cold, when taking wisdom’s web, we inculcate upon others, and put upon them bowels of mercy. Also when we make ready with divers virtues our heart for receiving Him, or those who are His, we take Him in a stranger into the home of our bosom. Also when we visit a brother sick either in faith or in good works, with doctrine, reproof, or comfort, we visit Christ Himself. Moreover, all that is here, is the prison of Christ, and of them that are His, who live in this world, as though chained in the prison of natural necessity. When we do a good work to these, we visit them in prison, and Christ in them.

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

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Christ the King – Matt 25:31-33

31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.

Augustine: The wicked and they also who shall be set on His right hand shall see Him in human shape, for He shall appear in the judgment in that form which He took on Him from us; but it shall be afterwards that He shall be seen in the form of God, for which all the believers long.

Remigius: These words [Son of man] overthrow the error of those who said that the Lord should not continue in the same form of a servant. By “his majesty,” He means His divinity, in which He is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Origen: He shall come again with glory, that His body may be such as when He was transfigured on the mount [Matt 17:2].

Augustine: He shall come down with the Angels whom He shall call from heavenly places to hold judgment.

Chrysostom: “For all his Angels shall be with him” to bear witness to the things wherein they have administered to men’s salvation at His bidding.

32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, . . .

Remigius: These words prove that the resurrection of men shall be real.

Augustine: This gathering shall be executed by the ministry of Angels, as it is said in the Psalm, “Gather to him his saints” [Ps 50:5].

32 . . . and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.

Chrysostom: Sheep are greatly productive in fleece, milk, and lambs.

Gloss: Under the figure of a sheep in Scripture is signified simplicity and innocence.

Origen: The wicked are called goats, because they climb rough and rugged rocks, and walk in dangerous places.

Jerome: The goat is a salacious animal, and was the offering for sins in the Law.

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

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Zacheus – Luke 19:9-10

9 Jesus said to him: This day is salvation come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.

Bede: Zacchaeus is called the son of Abraham, not because he was born of Abraham’s seed, but because he imitates his faith, that as Abraham left his country and his father’s house, so he abandoned all his goods in giving them to the poor. And He well says, “He also,” to declare that not only those who had lived justly, but those who are raised up from a life of injustice, belong to the sons of promise.

Theophylact: He said not that he “was” a son of Abraham, but that he now is. For before when he was the chief among the publicans, and bore no likeness to the righteous Abraham, he was not his son.

10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: Why do ye accuse me if I bring sinners to righteousness? So far am I from hating them, that for their sakes I came. For I came to heal, not to judge, therefore am I the constant guest of those that are sick, and I suffer their noisomeness that I may supply remedies.

But some one may ask, how does Paul bid us, If we have a brother that is a fornicator or covetous man, with such not even to take food [1 Cor 5:11]; whereas Christ was the guest of publicans? They were not as yet so far advanced as to be brethren, and besides, St. Paul bids us avoid our brethren only when they persist in evil, but these were converted.

Bede: Mystically, Zacchaeus, which is by interpretation “justified,” signifies the Gentile believers, who were depressed and brought very low by their worldly occupations, but sanctified by God. And he was desirous to see our Savior entering Jericho, inasmuch as he sought to share in that faith which Christ brought into the world.

Ambrose: Through the Jews He came to the Gentiles. He sees then Zacchaeus above, for already the excellence of his faith shone forth amidst the fruits of good works, and the loftiness of the fruitful tree.

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

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Zacheus – Luke 19:7-8

7 And when all saw it, they murmured, saying, that he was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: Those who deal with biting words and reproaches, try to cast a slur upon the things which were done by Him. . . . But He, though accused of being a wine-bibber and a friend of publicans, regarded it not, so long as He could accomplish His end. As a physician sometimes can not save his patients from their diseases without the defilement of blood. And so it happened here, for the publican was converted, and lived a better life.

8 But Zacheus standing, said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man of any thing, I restore him fourfold.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: Without learning he obeys. And as the sun pouring its rays into a house enlightens it not by word, but by work, so the Savior by the rays of righteousness put to flight the darkness of sin; for the light shineth in darkness. Now every thing united is strong, but divided, weak, therefore Zacchaeus divides into two parts his substance. But we must be careful to observe, that his wealth was not made up from unjust gains, but from his patrimony, else how could he restore fourfold what he had unjustly extorted. He knew that the law ordered what was wrongly taken away to be restored fourfold, that if the law deterred not, a man’s losses might soften him. Zacchaeus waits not for the judgment of the law, but makes himself his own judge.

Theophylact: Having given half of his goods to the poor, out of the remainder he restored fourfold to those whom he had injured. He not only promised this, but did it. For he says not, I will give the half, and I will restore fourfold, but, I give, and I restore.

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

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