Corpus Christi – Mark 14:12-13

12 Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the pasch, the disciples say to him: Whither wilt thou that we go, and prepare for thee to eat the pasch?

Chrysostom: Whilst Judas was plotting how to betray Him, the rest of the disciples were taking care of the preparation of the Passover.

Bede: He means by the first day of the Passover the fourteenth day of the first month, when they throw aside leaven, and were wont to sacrifice, that is, to kill the lamb at even. The Apostle explaining this says, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” [1 Cor 5:7]. For although He was crucified on the next day, that is, on the fifteenth moon, yet on the night when the lamb was offered up, He committed to His disciples the Mysteries of His Body and Blood, which they were to celebrate.

Pseudo-Jerome: The unleavened bread which was eaten with bitterness, that is with bitter herbs, is our redemption, and the bitterness is the Passion of Our Lord.

Theophylact: From the words of the disciples, “Where wilt thou that we go?” it seems evident that Christ had no dwelling-place, and that the disciples had no houses of their own; for if so, they would have taken Him thither.

Pseudo-Jerome: They say, “Where wilt thou that we go?” to shew us that we should direct our steps according to the Will of God.

13 And he sendeth two of his disciples, and saith to them: Go ye into the city; and there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water, follow him;

Augustine: Mark says a pitcher, Luke a two-handed vessel [Luke 22:10]; one points out the kind of vessel, the other the mode of carrying it; both however mean the same truth.

Bede: It is a proof of the presence of His divinity, that in speaking with His disciples, He knows what is to take place elsewhere.

Pseudo-Jerome: “Follow Him.” That is, him who leads to the lofty place, where is the refreshment prepared by Christ.

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

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Corpus Christi – John 6:58

58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. . . .

Augustine: That we who cannot obtain eternal life of ourselves, might live by the eating that bread, He descended from heaven.

Theophylact: We do not eat God simply, God being impalpable and incorporeal; nor again, the flesh of man simply, which would not profit us. But God having taken flesh into union with Himself; that flesh is quickening. Not that it has changed its own for the Divine nature; but, just as heated iron remains iron, with the action of the heat in it; so our Lord’s flesh is quickening, as being the flesh of the Word of God.

58 . . . Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.

Bede:. To show the wide interval between the shadow and the light, the type and the reality.

Augustine: Even those who eat Christ are subject to natural death; but they live for ever, because Christ is everlasting life.

Chrysostom: If it was possible without harvest or fruit of the earth, or any such thing, to preserve the lives of the Israelites of old for forty years, much more will He be able to do this with that spiritual food, of which the manna is the type. He knew how precious a thing life was in men’s eyes, and therefore repeats His promise of life often; just as the Old Testament had done [Exod 20:12; Deut 22:7; 1 Kgs 3:14; Ps 21:4; Ps 91:16; Prov 3:2]; only that it only offered length of life, He life without end. This promise was an abolition of that sentence of death, which sin had brought upon us.

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

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Corpus Christi – John 6:55-57

55 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.

Hilary: By the declaration of our Lord Himself, and by the teaching of our own faith, the flesh is really flesh, and the blood really blood. This then is our principle of life. While we are in the flesh, Christ dwells in us by His flesh. And we shall live by Him, according as He lives.

Augustine: Whereas men desire meat and drink to satisfy hunger and thirst, this effect is only really produced by that meat and drink, which makes the receivers of it immortal and incorruptible; i.e. the society of Saints, where is peace and unity, full and perfect. On which account our Lord has chosen for the types of His body and blood, things which become one out of many. Bread is a quantity of grains united into one mass, wine a quantity of grapes squeezed together.

56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.

Augustine: To partake of that meat and that drink, is to dwell in Christ and Christ in you.

Chrysostom: Or, having given a promise of eternal life to those that eat Him.

Augustine: As for those, as indeed there are many, who either eat that flesh and drink that blood hypocritically, or, who having eaten, become apostates, do they dwell in Christ, and Christ in them? Nay.

He that dwells not in Christ, and in whom Christ dwells not, neither eats His flesh, nor drinks His blood: but rather eats and drinks the sacrament of it to his own damnation.

57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.

Augustine: The Son does not grow better by partaking of the Father, as we do by partaking of the Son, i.e. of His one body and blood, which this eating and drinking signifies. So that His saying, I live by the Father, because He is from Him, must not be understood as detracting from His equality. Nor do the words, Even he that eateth Me, the same shall live by Me, give us the equality that He has. He does not equalize, but only mediates between God and man.

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

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Corpus Christi – John 6:52-54

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 54 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.

Theophylact: It is not the flesh of man simply, but of God: and it makes man divine, by inebriating him, as it were, with divinity.

Augustine: There are some who promise men deliverance from eternal punishment, if they are washed in Baptism and partake of Christ’s Body, whatever lives they live. The Apostle however contradicts them, where he says, The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkeness, revelings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God [Gal 5:19-21]. . . . Heretics and schismatics, who are cut off from the unity of the body, may receive the same Sacrament; but it does not profit them, nay, rather is hurtful, as tending to make their judgment heavier, or their forgiveness later. Nor ought they to feel secure in their abandoned and damnable ways, who, by the iniquity of their lives, desert righteousness, i.e. Christ; either by fornication, or other sins of the like kind. Such are not to be said to eat the body of Christ; forasmuch as they are not to be counted among the members of Christ For, not to mention other things, men cannot be members of Christ, and at the same time members of an harlot.

By this meat and drink then, He would have us understand the society of His body, and His members, which is the Church, in the predestined, and called, and justified, and glorified saints and believers. The Sacrament whereof, i.e. Of the unity of the body and blood of Christ, is administered, in some places daily, in others on such and such days from the Lord’s Table: and from the Lord’s Table it is received by some to their salvation, by others to their condemnation. But the thing itself of which this is the Sacrament, is for our salvation to every one who partakes of it, for condemnation to none.

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

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Corpus Christi – John 6:51

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world.

Augustine: The manna too came down from heaven; but the manna was shadow, this is substance.

Chrysostom: Their fathers eat manna and were dead; whereas of this bread He says, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. The difference of the two is evident from the difference of their ends.

Augustine: Our Lord pronounces Himself to be bread, not only in respect of that Divinity, which feeds all things, but also in respect of that human nature, which was assumed by the Word of God.

Bede: This bread our Lord then gave, when He delivered to His disciple the mystery of His Body and Blood, and offered Himself to God the Father on the altar of the cross. For the life of the world, i.e. not for the elements, but for mankind, who are called the world.

Theophylact: Which I shall give: this shows His power; for it shows that He was not crucified as a servant, in subjection to the Father, but of his own accord; for though He is said to have been given up by the Father, yet He delivered Himself up also. And observe, the bread which is taken by us in the mysteries, is not only the sign of Christ’s flesh, but is itself the very flesh of Christ; for He does not say, The bread which I will give, is the sign of My flesh, but, is My flesh. . . . But why see we not the flesh? Because, if the flesh were seen, it would revolt us to such a degree, that we should be unable to partake of it. And therefore in condescension to our infirmity, the mystical food is given to us under an appearance suitable to our minds. He gave His flesh for the life of the world, in that, by dying, He destroyed death.

Augustine: When does flesh receive the bread which He calls His flesh? The faithful know and receive the Body of Christ, if they labor to be the body of Christ. And they become the body of Christ, if they study to live by the Spirit of Christ: for that which lives by the Spirit of Christ, is the body of Christ. This bread the Apostle sets forth, where he says, We being many are one body [1 Cor 12:12].

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

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Trinity Sunday – John 16:14-15

14 He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you.

Chrysostom: Because He had said, Ye have one Master, even Christ [Matt 23:8], that they might not be prevented by this from admitting the Holy Ghost as well, He adds, For He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it to you.

15 All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you.

Didymus: That which the Father hath according to His substance, i.e. His eternity, immutability, goodness, it is this which the Son hath also.

To receive must be taken here in a sense agreeable to the Divine Nature. As the Son in giving is not deprived of what He gives, nor imparts to others with any loss of His own, so too the Holy Ghost does not receive what before He had not; for if He received what before He had not, the gift being transferred to another, the giver would be thereby a loser. We must understand then that the Holy Ghost receives from the Son that which belonged to His nature, and that there are not two substances implied, one giving and the other receiving, but one substance only. In like manner the Son too is said to receive from the Father that wherein He Himself subsists. For neither is the Son any thing but what is given Him by the Father, nor the Holy Ghost any substance but that which is given Him by the Son.

Augustine: It is not true, as some heretics have thought, that because the Son receives from the Father, the Holy Ghost from the Son, as if by gradation, that therefore the Holy Ghost is inferior to the Son. He Himself solves this difficulty, and explains His own words: All things that the Father hath are Mine.

Hilary: Nor does it matter from whom the thing is received; since that which is given by the Father is counted also as given by the Son.

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

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Trinity Sunday – John 16:12-13

12 I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. . . .

Didymus: His hearers had not yet attained to all those things which for His name’s sake they were able to bear; so, revealing lesser things, He puts off the greater for a future time, such things as they could not understand till the Cross itself of their crucified Head had been their instruction. As yet they were slaves to the types, and shadows, and images of the Law, and could not bear the truth of which the Law was the shadow. But when the Holy Ghost came, He would lead them by His teaching and discipline into all truth, transferring them from the dead letter to the quickening Spirit [Rom 7:6], in Whom alone all Scripture truth resides.

13 . . . For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; . . .

Didymus: He shall not speak of Himself, i.e., not without Me, and Mine and the Father’s will: because He is not of Himself, but from the Father and Me. That He exists, and that He speaks, He has from the Father and Me. I speak the truth; i.e., I inspire as well as speak by Him, since He is the Spirit of Truth.

Augustine: This is like what He said of Himself above, i.e., I can of Mine own Self do nothing; as I hear I judge [John 5:30]. . . . The Son is born of the Father, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father. . . . To hear is with Him to know, to know to be. As then He is not from Himself, but from Him from Whom He proceeds, from Whom His being is, from the same is His knowledge. From the same therefore His hearing. The Holy Ghost then always hears, because He always knows.

Nor let the use of the future tense perplex you; that hearing is eternal, because the knowledge is eternal. To that which is eternal, without beginning, and without end, a verb of any tense may be applied.

13 . . . and the things that are to come, he shall shew you.

Didymus: By the Spirit of truth too the knowledge of future events has been granted to holy men. Prophets filled with this Spirit foretold and saw things to come, as if they were present.

Bede: It is certain that many filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit have foreknown future events. But as many gifted saints have never had this power, the words, He will shew you things to come, may be taken to mean, bring back to your minds the Joys of your heavenly country.

Chrysostom: He raised their spirits; for there is nothing for which mankind so long, as the knowledge of the future. He relieves them from all anxiety on this account, by showing that dangers would not fall upon them unawares.

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

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