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Catena Aurea by St. Thomas Aguinas

8:1–3

1. And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

2. And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

3. And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

THEOPHYLACT. He who descended from heaven, for our example and imitation, gives us a lesson not to be slothful in teaching. Hence it is said, And it came to pass afterward that he went, &c.

GREGORY NAZIANZEN. (Orat. xxxvii. 2.) For He passes from place to place, that He may not only gain many, but may consecrate many places. He sleeps and labours, that He may sanctify sleep and labour. He weeps, that He may give a value to tears. He preaches heavenly things, that He may exalt His hearers.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. For He who descends from heaven to earth, brings tidings to them that dwell on earth of a heavenly kingdom. But who ought to preach the kingdom of heaven? Many prophets came, yet preached not the kingdom of heaven, for how could they pretend to speak of things which they perceived not?

ISIDORE OF PELEUSIUM. (lib. iii. ep. 206.) Now this kingdom of God some think to be higher and better than the heavenly kingdom, but some think it to be one and the same in reality, but called by different names; at one time the kingdom of God from Him who reigneth, but at another the kingdom of heaven from the Angels and Saints, His subjects, who are said to be of heaven.

BEDE. But like the eagle, enticing its young ones to fly, our Lord, step by step, raises up His disciples to heavenly things. He first of all teaches in the synagogues, and performs miracles. He next chooses twelve whom He names Apostles; He afterwards takes them alone with Him, as He preached throughout the cities and villages, as it follows, And the twelve were with him.

THEOPHYLACT. Not teaching or preaching, but to be instructed by Him. But lest it should seem that the women were hindered from following Christ, it is added, And certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.

BEDE. Mary Magdalene is the same of whose repentance, without mention of her name, we have just read. For the Evangelist, when he relates her going with our Lord, rightly distinguishes her by her known name, but when describing the sinner but penitent, He speaks of her generally as a woman; lest the mark of her former guilt should blacken a name of so great report. Out of whom seven devils are reported to have gone, that it might be shewn that she was full of all vices.

GREGORY. (Hom. 33. in Ev.) For what is understood by the seven devils, but all vices? For since all time is comprehended by seven days, rightly by the number seven is universality represented: Mary therefore had seven devils, for she was full of every kind of vice. It follows, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who ministered to him of their substance.

JEROME. (in Matt. 27:55.) It was a Jewish custom, nor was it thought blameable, according to the ancient manners of that nation, that women should afford of their substance food and clothing to their teachers. This custom, as it might cause offence to the Gentiles, St. Paul relates he had cast off. (1 Cor. 9:15.) But these ministered unto the Lord of their substance, that He might reap their carnal things from whom they had reaped spiritual things. Not that the Lord needed the food of His creatures, but that He might set an example to masters, that they ought to be content with food and clothing from their disciples.

BEDE. But Mary is by interpretation, “bitter sea,” because of the loud wailing of her penitence; Magdalene, “a tower, or rather belonging to a tower,” from the tower of which it is said, Thou art become my hope, my strong tower from the face of my enemy. (Ps. 61:3.) Joanna is by interpretation “the Lord her grace,” or “the merciful Lord,” for from Him cometh every thing that we live upon. But if Mary, cleansed from the corruption of her sins, points to the Church of the Gentiles, why does not Joanna represent the same Church formerly subject to the worship of idols?

For every evil spirit whilst he acts for the devil’s kingdom, is as it were Herod’s steward. Susanna is interpreted, “a lily,” or its grace, because of the fragrance and whiteness of the heavenly life, and the golden heat of inward love.

8:4–15

4. And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

5. A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.

6. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.

8. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

9. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?

10. And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

11. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

12. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

13. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

14. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

15. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

THEOPHYLACT. That which David had foretold in the person of Christ, I will open my mouth in parables, (Ps. 78:2.) the Lord here fulfils; as it is said, And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable. But the Lord speaks by a parable, first indeed that He may make His hearers more attentive. For men were accustomed to exercise their minds on dark sayings, and to despise what was plain; and next, that the unworthy might not receive what was spoken mystically.

ORIGEN. And therefore it is significantly said, When much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city. For not many but few there are who walk the strait road, and find the way which leadeth to life. Hence Matthew says, that He taught without the house by parables, but within the house explained the parable to His disciples. (Matt. 13:36.)

EUSEBIUS. Now Christ most fitly puts forth His first parable to the multitude not only of those who then stood by, but of those also who were to come after them, inducing them to listen to His words, saying, A sower went out to sow his seed.

BEDE. The sower we can conceive to be none other but the Son of God, Who going forth from His Father’s bosom whither no creature had attained, came into the world that He might bear witness to the truth. (John 18:37.)

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 44. in Matt.) Now His going, Who is every where, was not local, but through the vail of the flesh He approached us. But Christ fitly denominates His advent, His going forth. For we were aliens from God, and cast out as criminals, and rebels to the king, but he who wishes to reconcile man, going out to them, speaks to them without, until having become meet for the royal presence, He brings them within; so also did Christ.

THEOPHYLACT. But He went out now, not to destroy the husbandmen, or to burn up the earth, but He went out to sow. For oftimes the husbandman who sows, goes out for some other cause, not only to sow.

EUSEBIUS. Some went out from the heavenly country and descended among men, not however to sow, for they were not sowers, but ministering spirits sent forth to minister. (Heb. 1:14.) Moses also and the prophets after him did not plant in men the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but by keeping back the foolish from the error of iniquity, and the worship of idols, they tilled as it were the souls of men, and brought them into cultivation. But the only Sower of all, the Word of God, went out to sow the new seed of the Gospel, that is, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

THEOPHYLACT. But the Son of God never ceases to sow in our hearts, for not only when teaching, but creating, He sows good seed in our hearts.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. But He went out to sow His seed, He receives not the word as borrowed, for He is by nature the Word of the living God. The seed is not then of Paul, or of John, but they have it because they have received it. Christ has His own seed, drawing forth His teaching from His own nature. Hence also the Jews said, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? (John 7:15.)

EUSEBIUS. He teaches therefore that there are two classes of those who received the seed; the first, of those who have been made worthy of the heavenly calling, but fall from grace through carelessness and sloth; but the second, of those who multiply the seed bearing good fruit. But according to Matthew he makes three divisions in each class. For those who corrupt the seed have not all the same manner of destruction, and those who bear fruit from it do not receive an equal abundance. He wisely sets forth the cases of those who lose the seed. For some though they have not sinned, have lost the good seed implanted in their hearts, through its having been withdrawn from their thoughts and memory by evil spirits, and devils who fly through the air; or deceitful and cunning men, whom He calls the birds of the air. Hence it follows, And as he sowed, some fell by the way side.

THEOPHYLACT. He said not that the sower threw some on the way side, but that it fell by the way side. For he who sows teaches the right word, but the word falls in different ways upon the hearers, so that some of them are called the way side: and it was trodden down, and the birds of the air devoured it.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. For every way side is in some measure dry and uncultivated, because it is trodden down by all men, and no seed gains moisture on it. So the divine warning reaches not the unteachable heart, that it should bring forth the praise of virtue. These then are the ways frequented by unclean spirits. There are again some who bear faith about them, as if it consisted in the nakedness of words; their faith is without root, of whom it is added, And some fell upon a rock, and as soon as it sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.

BEDE. The rock, he says, is the hard and unsubdued heart. Now the moisture at the root of the seed is the same as what is called in another parable, the oil to trim the lamps of the virgins, that is, love and stedfastness in virtue. (Matt. 25.)

EUSEBIUS. There are also some who through covetousness, the desire of pleasure and worldly cares, which indeed Christ calls thorns, suffer the seed which has been sown in them to be choked.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 44. in Matt.) For as the thorns do not let the seed grow up, but when it has been sown choke it by thickening round it, so the cares of this present life permit not the seed to bear fruit. But in things of sense the husbandman must be reproved who would sow amid thorns on a rock and the way side, for it is impossible that the rocks should become earth, the way not be a way, the thorns not be thorns. But in rational things it is otherwise. For it is possible that the rock should be converted into a fruitful soil, the way not be trodden down, the thorns dispersed.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Now the rich and fruitful ground is the honest and good hearts which receive deeply the seeds of the word, and retain them and cherish them. And whatever is added to this, And some fell upon good ground, and springing up, brought forth fruit an hundredfold. For when the divine word is poured into a soul free from all anxieties, then it strikes root deep, and sends forth as it were the ear, and in its due season comes to perfection.

BEDE. For by fruit a hundredfold, he means perfect fruit. For the number ten is always taken to imply perfection, because in ten precepts is contained the keeping, or the observance of the law. But the number ten multiplied by itself amounts to a hundred; hence by a hundred very great perfection is signified.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But what the meaning of the parable is, let us hear from him who made it, as it follows, And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

BASIL. (Hom. in Princ. Prov.) Hearing has reference to the understanding. By this then our Lord stirs us up to listen attentively to the meaning of those things which are spoken.

BEDE. For as often as the admonition occurs either in the Gospel or the Revelation of St. John, it signifies that there is a mystical meaning in what is said, and we must inquire more closely into it. Hence the disciples who were ignorant ask our Saviour, for it follows, And his disciples asked him, &c. But let no one suppose that as soon as the parable was finished His disciples asked Him, but as Mark says, When he was alone they asked him. (Mark 4:10.)

ORIGEN. (in Prov. 1.) Now a parable is a narration of an action as done, yet not done according to the letter, though it might have been, representing certain things by means of others which are given in the parable. An enigma is a continued story of things which are spoken of as done, and yet have not been done, nor are possible to be done, but contains a concealed meaning, as that which is mentioned in the Book of Judges, that the trees went forth to anoint a king over them. (Judges 9:8.) But it was not literally a fact as is said, A sower went out to sow, like those facts related in history, yet it might have been so.

EUSEBIUS. But our Lord told them the reason why He spake to the multitudes in parables, as follows, And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of God.

GREGORY NAZIANZEN. (ubi sup.) When you hear this you must not entertain the notion of different natures, as certain heretics do, who think that some men indeed are of a perishing nature, others of a saving nature, but that some are so constituted that their will leads them to better or worse. But add to the words, To you it is given, if willing and truly worthy.

THEOPHYLACT. But to those who are unworthy of such mysteries, they are obscurely spoken. Hence it follows, But to the rest in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. For they think they see, but see not, and hear indeed, but do not understand. For this reason Christ hides this from them, lest they should beget a greater prejudice against them, if after they had known the mysteries of Christ, they despised them. For he who understands and afterwards despises, shall be more severely punished.

BEDE. Rightly then do they hear in parables, who having closed the senses of their heart, care not to know the truth, forgetful of what the Lord told them. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

GREGORY. (in Hom. 15 in Ev.) But our Lord condescended to explain what He said, that we might know how to seek for explanation in those things which He is unwilling to explain through Himself. For it follows, Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

EUSEBIUS. Now He says, that there are three reasons why men destroy the seed implanted in their hearts. For some destroy the seed that is hid in them by lightly giving heed to those that wish to deceive, of whom He adds, Those by the way side are they that hear: then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts.

BEDE. Who in truth deign to receive the word which they hear with no faith, with no understanding, at least with no attempt to test the value of it.

EUSEBIUS. But some there are who having not received the word in any depth of heart, are soon overcome when adversity assails them, of whom it is added, They on the rock are they which when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. For when they enter the Church they gladly wait on the divine mysteries, but with infirmity of purpose. But when they leave the Church they forget the sacred discipline, and as long as Christians are undisturbed, their faith is lasting; but when persecution harasses, their heart fails them, for their faith was without root.

GREGORY. (ubi sup.) Many men propose to begin a good work, but as soon as they have become annoyed by adversity or temptation, they abandon what they had begun. The rocky ground then had no moisture to carry on to constancy fruit which it had put forth.

EUSEBIUS. But some choke the seed which has been deposited in them with riches and vain delights, as if with choking thorns, of whom it is added, And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches of this life, &c.

GREGORY. (ubi sup.) It is wonderful that the Lord has represented riches as thorns, for these prick, while those delight, and yet they are thorns, for they lacerate the mind by the prickings of their thoughts, and whenever they entice to see they draw blood, as if inflicting a wound. But there are two things which He joins to riches, cares and pleasures, for they oppress the mind by anxiety and unnerve it by luxuries, but they choke the seed, for they strangle the throat of the heart with vexatious thoughts, and while they let not a good desire enter the heart, they close up as it were the passage of the vital breath.

EUSEBIUS. Now these things were foretold by our Saviour according to His foreknowledge, and that their case is so, experience testifies. For in no wise do men fall away from the truth of divine worship, but according to some of the causes before mentioned by Him.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 44. in Matt.) And to sum up many things in a few words. Some indeed as careless hearers, some as weak, but others as the very slaves of pleasure and worldly things, hold aloof from what is good. The order of the way side, the rock, and the thorns is well, for we have first need of recollection and caution, next of fortitude, and then of contempt of things present. He therefore places the good ground in opposition to the way, the rock, and the thorns. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, &c. For they who are on the way side keep not the word, but the devil takes away their seed. But they who are on the rock sustain not patiently the assaults of temptation through weakness. But they who are among thorns bear no fruit, but are choked.

GREGORY. (ubi sup.) The good ground then bears fruit through patience, for nothing we do is good unless we endure patiently our closest evils. They therefore bear fruit through patience, who when they bear strifes humbly, are after the scourge received with joy to a heavenly rest.

8:16–18

16. No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.

17. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

18. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

BEDE. Having before said to His Apostles, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others in parables; He now shews that by them at length must the same mystery be revealed also to others, saying, No man when he hath lighted a candle covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it tender a bed.

EUSEBIUS. As if He said, As a lantern is lighted that it should give light, not that it should be covered under a bushel or a bed, so also the secrets of the kingdom of heaven when uttered in parables, although hid from those who are strangers to the faith, will not however to all men appear obscure. Hence he adds, For nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest, neither any thing hid that shall not be known, and come abroad. As if He said, Though many things are spoken in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand, because of their unbelief, yet the whole matter shall be revealed.

AUGUSTINE. (de Quæst. Ev. lib. ii. q. 12.) Or else in these words He typically sets forth the boldness of preaching, that no one should, through fear of fleshly ills, conceal the light of knowledge. For under the names of vessel and bed, he represents the flesh, but of that of lantern, the word, which whosoever keeps hid through fear of the troubles of the flesh, sets the flesh itself before the manifestation of the truth, and by it he as it were covers the word, who fears to preach it. But he places a candle upon a candlestick who so submits his body to the service of God, that the preaching of the truth stands highest in his estimation, the service of the body lowest.

ORIGEN. But he who would adapt his lantern to the more perfect disciples of Christ, must persuade us by those things which were spoken of John, for he was a burning and a shining light. (John 5:35.) It becomes not him then who lights the light of reason in his soul to hide it under a bed where men sleep, nor under any vessel, for he who does this provides not for those who enter the house for whom the candle is prepared, but they must set it upon a candlestick, that is, the whole Church.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 15. in Matt.) By these words he leads them to diligence of life, teaching them to be strong as exposed to the view of all men, and fighting in the world as on a stage. As if he said, Think not that we dwell in a small part of the world, for ye will be known of all men, since it cannot be that so great virtue should lie hid.

MAXIMUS. (Quæst. in Script. 63.) Or perhaps the Lord calls Himself a light shining to all who inhabit the house, that is, the world, since He is by nature God, but by the dispensation made flesh. And so like the light of the lamp He abides in the vessel of the flesh by means of the soul as the light in the vessel of the lamp by means of the flame. But by the candlestick he describes the Church over which the divine word shines, illuminating the house as it were by the rays of truth. But under the similitude of a vessel or bed he referred to the observance of the law, under which the word will not be contained.

BEDE. But the Lord ceases not to teach us to hearken to His word, that we may be able both to constantly meditate on it in our own minds, and to bring it forth for the instruction of others. Hence it follows, Take heed therefore how ye hear; for whosoever hath, to him shall be given. As if he says, Give heed with all your mind to the word which ye hear, for to him who has a love of the word, shall be given also the sense of understanding what he loves; but whoso hath no love of hearing the word, though he deems himself skilful either from natural genius, or the exercise of learning, will have no delight in the sweetness of wisdom; for oftentimes the slothful man is gifted with capacities, that if he neglect them he may be the more justly punished for his negligence, since that which he can obtain without labour he disdains to know, and sometimes the studious man is oppressed with slowness of apprehension, in order that the more he labours in his inquiries, the greater may be the recompense of his reward.

8:19–21

19. Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.

20. And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.

21. And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. Our Lord had left His kinsfolk according to the flesh, and was occupied in His Father’s teaching. But when they began to feel His absence, they came unto Him, as it is said, Then came unto him his mother and his brethren. When you hear of our Lord’s brethren you must include also the notions of piety and grace. For no one in regard of His divine nature is the brother of the Saviour, (for He is the Only-begotten,) but He has, by the grace of piety, made us partakers in His flesh and His blood, and He who is by nature God has become our brother.

BEDE. But those who are said to be our Lord’s brethren according to the flesh, you must not imagine to be the children of the blessed Mary, the mother of God, as Helvidius thinks, nor the children of Joseph by another wife, as some say, but rather believe to be their kinsfolk.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. His brethren thought that when He heard of their presence He would send away the people, from respect to His mother’s name, and from His affection towards her, as it follows, And it was told him, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 44. in Matt.) Think what it was, when the whole people stood by, and were hanging upon His mouth, (for His teaching had already begun,) to withdraw Him away from them. Our Lord accordingly answers as it were rebuking them, as it follows, And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are they which hear the word of God, and do it, &c.

AMBROSE. The moral teacher who gives himself an example to others, when about to enjoin upon others, that he who has not left father and mother, is not worthy of the Son of God, first submits Himself to this precept, not that He denies the claims of filial piety, (for it is His own sentence, He that knoweth not his father and mother shall die the death,) but because He knows that He is more bound to obey His Father’s mysteries than the feelings of His mother. Nor however are His parents harshly rejected, but the bonds of the mind are shewn to be more sacred than those of the body. Therefore in this place He does not disown His mother, (as some heretics say, eagerly catching at His speech,) since she is also acknowledged from the cross; but the law of heavenly ordinances is preferred to earthly affection.

BEDE. They then who hear the word of God and do it, are called the mother of our Lord, because they daily in their actions or words bring Him forth as it were in their inmost hearts; they also are His brethren where they do the will of His Father, Who is in heaven.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 41. in Matt.) Now He does not say this by way of reproof to His mother, but to greatly assist her, for if He was anxious for others to beget in them a just opinion of Himself, much more was He for His mother. And He had not raised her to such a height if she were always to expect to be honoured by Him as a son, and never to consider Him as her Lord.

THEOPHYLACT. But some take this to mean that certain men, hating Christ’s teaching, and mocking at Him for His doctrine, said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without wishing to see thee; as if thereby to shew His meanness of birth. And He therefore knowing their hearts gave them this answer, that meanness of birth harms not, but if a man, though of low birth, hear the word of God, He reckons him as His kinsman. Because however hearing only saves no one, but rather condemns, He adds, and doeth it; for it becomes us both to hear and to do. But by the word of God He means His own teaching, for all the words which He Himself spake were from His Father.

AMBROSE. In a mystical sense he ought not to stand without, who was seeking Christ. Hence also that saying, Come unto him, and be enlightened (Ps. 34:6. Vulg.). For if they stand without, not even parents themselves are acknowledged; and perhaps for our example they are not. How are we acknowledged by Him if we stand without? That meaning also is not unreasonable, because by the figure of parents He points to the Jews of whom Christ was born, (Rom. 9:5.) and thought the Church to be preferred to the synagogue.

BEDE. For they cannot enter within when He is teaching whose words they refuse to understand spiritually. But the multitude went before and entered into the house, because when the Jews rejected Christ the Gentiles flocked to Him. But those who stand without, wishing to see Christ, are they, who not seeking a spiritual sense in the law, have placed themselves without to guard the letter of it, and as it were rather compel Christ to go out, to teach them earthly things, than consent to enter in themselves to learn spiritual things.

8:22–25

22. Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.

23. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

24. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

25. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. When the disciples saw that all men received help from Christ, it seemed fitting that they themselves also should in turn rejoice in the benefits of Christ. For no one regards that which happens in the person of another equally with that to himself. The Lord therefore exposed the disciples to the sea and the winds, as it follows, Now it came to pass on a certain day that he went into a ship with his disciples; and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake: and they launched forth.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 27. in Matt.) Luke indeed avoids the question which might be put to him with regard to the order of time, saying, that He went into a ship on a certain day. Now if the storm had arisen when our Lord was awake, the disciples either had not feared, or not believed that He could do such a thing. For this cause He sleeps, giving them an occasion for fear; for it follows, But as they sailed he fell asleep; and there came down a storm of wind on the lake.

AMBROSE. We are told above, moreover, that He passed the night in prayer. How then does He here fall asleep in a storm? The security of power is expressed, that while all were afraid, He alone lay fearless; but He lay asleep in the body, while in the mind he was in the mystery of divinity. For nothing happens without the Word.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. (ubi sup.) But it seems to have been especially and wonderfully ordained that they should not seek His assistance when first the storm began to affect the boat, but after the danger had increased, in order that the power of the Divine Majesty might be made more manifest. Hence it is said, And they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. This indeed our Lord allowed for the sake of trial, that having confessed their danger they should acknowledge the greatness of the miracle. Hence when their great danger had driven them into intolerable fear, having no other hope of safety but the Lord of power Himself, they awoke Him. It follows, And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, we perish.

AUGUSTINE. (de Cons. Ev. l. 2. c. 24.) Matthew says, Master, save us, we perish. Mark, Master, carest thou not that we perish? There is the same expression in all of men awakening our Lord, and anxious for their safety. Nor is it worth while to enquire which of these was most likely to have been said to Christ. For whether they said one of these three, or some other words which no Evangelist has mentioned, but of the same import, what matter is it? Though at the same time this may have been the case, that by the many who awoke Him, all these things were said, one by one, and another by another.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But it could not be that they should perish while the Almighty was with them. Christ then arose, Who has power over all things, and immediately quells the storm and the violence of the wind, and the tempest ceased, and there was a calm. Herein He shews Himself to be God, to Whom it is said, Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them (Ps. 89:10.). So then as He sailed, our Lord manifested both natures in one and the same person, seeing that He who as man slept in the ship, as God by His word stilled the raging of the sea.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But together with the raging of the waters, He quiets also the tumult of their souls, as it follows, And he said unto them, Where is your faith? By which word He shewed, that it is not so much the assault of temptation which causes fear, as faint-heartedness. For as gold is proved in the fire, so is faith in temptation.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. ut sup.) Now this is related by the other Evangelists in different words. For Matthew says, that Jesus said, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? (Matt. 8.) but Mark as follows, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? (Mark 4.) i. e. that perfect faith like the grain of mustard seed. Mark then also says, O ye of little faith; but Luke, Where is your faith? And indeed all these may have been said, Why are ye fearful? Where is your faith? O ye of little faith. Hence one Evangelist relates one, another another.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. When the tempest was quelled at the command of Christ, the disciples in astonishment whispered one to the other, as it follows, And they being afraid wondered, &c. Now the disciples said not this as ignorant of Him, for they knew that He was God, and Jesus the Son of God. But they marvel at the exceeding vastness of His natural power, and the glory of His divinity, although He was like to us, and visible in the flesh. Hence they say, Who is this? that is, of what manner of man? how great, and with what great power and majesty? for it is a mighty work, a lordly command, no abject petition.

BEDE. Or, it was not His disciples, but the sailors and others in the ship who wondered.

But allegorically, the sea or lake is the dark and bitter tide of the world, the ship is the wood of the cross, by help of which the faithful, having passed the waves of this world, reach the shore of a heavenly country.

AMBROSE. Our Lord therefore, who knew that He came upon earth for a divine mystery, having left His kinsfolk, went up into the ship.

BEDE. His disciples also, when summoned, enter in with Him. Hence He says, If any one will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Mat. 16:24.) While His disciples are sailing, that is, the faithful passing through this world, and meditating in their minds the rest of the world to come, and by the breath of the Holy Spirit, or also their own exertions, eagerly leaving behind them the unbelieving pride of the world, suddenly our Lord fell asleep, that is, the time of our Lord’s passion was come, and the storm descended. For when our Lord entered the sleep of death upon the cross, the waves of persecution rose, stirred up by the breath of the devil, but while the patience of the Lord is not disturbed by the waves, the faint hearts of the disciples are shaken and tremble. They awoke our Lord lest they should perish while He slept, because having seen His death they wish for His resurrection, for if that were delayed they would perish for ever. He rises therefore and rebukes the wind, since by His sudden rising again He put down the pride of the devil who had the power of death. (Heb. 2:14.) But He makes the tempest of nature to cease, since by His resurrection He baffled the rage of the Jews, who plotted His death.

AMBROSE. You must remember that no one can pass from the course of this life without temptations, for temptation is the trial of faith. We are therefore subject to the storms of spiritual wickedness, but as watchful sailors we must awake the Pilot, who does not obey but commands the winds, who although He now no longer sleeps in the sleep of His own body, yet let us beware, lest through the sleep of our bodies He is to us asleep and at rest. But they are rightly reproved who feared, when Christ was present; since he surely who clings to Him can in no wise perish.

BEDE. In like manner, when He appeared after His death to His disciples, He upbraided them with their unbelief, (Mark 16:14.) and thus having calmed the swelling waves, He made plain to all the power of His divinity.

8:26–39

26. And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

27. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

28. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

29. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

30. And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.

31. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

32. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.

33. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.

34. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.

35. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

36. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.

37. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.

38. Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,

39. Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. The Saviour, as He sailed with His disciples, came to a port, as it is said, And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. Many accurate copies have neither “Gerazenes” nor “Gadarenes,” but “Gergezenes.” For Gadara is a city in Judæa, but neither lake nor sea is found at it; and Geraza is a city of Arabia, having neither lake nor sea near. But Gergeza, from which the Gergezenes are called, is an ancient city near the lake of Tiberias, above which is a rock hanging over the lake, into which they say the swine were dashed down by the devils. But since Gadara and Geraza border upon the land of the Gergezenes, it is probable that the swine were led from thence to their parts.

BEDE. For Geraza is a famous city of Arabia, on the other side of the Jordan, close to the mountain of Galaad, which was possessed by the tribe of Manasseh, and not far from the lake of Tiberias, into which the swine were cast headlong.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 28. in Matt.) But as soon as our Lord had departed from the sea, He meets with another more awful wonder. For the demoniac, like an evil slave, when he sees Him confirms his bondage, as it follows, And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, &c.

AUGUSTINE. (Cons. Ev. ut sup.) Whereas Matthew says, that there were two possessed, but Mark and Luke mention only one; you must understand one of them to be a more distinguished and famous person, for whom that neighbourhood was chiefly distressed, and in whose restoration they were greatly interested. Wishing to signify this, the two Evangelists thought right to mention him alone, concerning whom the report of this miracle had been most extensively noised abroad.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 28. in Matt.) Or, Luke selected from the two the one who was most savage. Hence he gives the most melancholy account of his calamity, adding, And he wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. But the evil spirits visit the tombs of the dead, to instil into men that dangerous notion, that the souls of the dead become evil spirits.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Now his going naked among the tombs of the dead was a mark of demoniacal wildness. But God permits some in His providence to become subject to evil spirits, that we may ascertain through them of what kind the evil spirits are towards us, in order that we may refuse to be made subject unto them, and so by the suffering of one many may be edified.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) But because the people acknowledged Him to be man, the devils came publishing His divinity, which even the sea had proclaimed by its calmness. Hence it follows, When he saw Jesus he fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, &c.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Mark here the combination of fear with boldness and great desperation, for it is a sign of devilish despair to speak out boldly, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? but of fear when they pray, I beseech thee not to cast me out. But if thou knowest Him to be the Son of God most high, thou confessest Him to be the God of heaven and earth, and of all things that are contained in them. How then dost thou make use not of thy own but His words, saying, What have I to do with thee? But what earthly prince will altogether endure to have his subjects tormented by barbarians? Hence it follows, For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of him. And He shews the necessity of the command, adding, For oftentimes it had caught him, &c.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) Therefore since no one could hold the possessed, Christ goes to him and addresses him. It follows, And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name?

BEDE. He enquires not his name as ignorant of it, but that when the demoniac had confessed the plague which he endured, the power of the Healer might shine forth more welcome to him. But the priests also of our time, who through the grace of exorcism are able to cast out devils, are wont to say that the sufferers can no otherwise be cured than by openly telling in confession every thing which either waking or sleeping they have endured from the unclean spirits, and above all when they imagine that the devils seek and obtain the possession of the human body. So also here the confession is added, And he said, Legion, because many devils were entered into him.

GREGORY OF NYSSA. (Hom. 14. in Cantic.) Certain evil spirits imitating the heavenly hosts and the legions of Angels say that they are legions. As also their prince says that he will exalt his throne above the stars that he may be like to the Most High. (Isaiah 14:13.)

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) But when the Lord had overcome the evil spirits which disturbed His creatures, they thought that because of the enormity of those things which had been done, He would not wait the time of their punishment, and therefore since they could not deny their guilt, they entreat that they may not quickly undergo the penalty. As it follows, And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

THEOPHYLACT. Which indeed the devils demand, wishing yet longer to mix with mankind.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. And hence it is plain that the rebel hosts against the Divine Majesty were thrust down to hell by the unspeakable power of the Saviour.

MAXIMUS. (Ep. ad Georgium.) Now the Lord ordains for each class of sinners an appropriate punishment. The fire of Hell unquenchable for fleshly burnings, gnashing of teeth for wanton mirth, intolerable thirst for pleasure and revelry, the worm that dieth not for a crooked and malignant heart, everlasting darkness for ignorance and deceit, the bottomless pit for pride. Hence the deep is assigned to the devils as unto the proud, it follows, And there was there an herd of swine, &c.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. l. ii. 24.) The words of Mark, that there was a herd of swine nigh unto the mountains, and of Luke, on the mountains, do not differ from one another. For the herd of swine was so large, that they might be part on the mountain, part near it. For there were two thousand swine, as Mark has stated. (Mark 5:13.)

AMBROSE. But the devils could not endure the clearness of the light of heaven, as those who have weak eyes can not bear the sun’s rays.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. The multitude of unclean spirits seek therefore to be sent into the herd of unclean swine, like to themselves, for it follows, And they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them.

ATHANASIUS. (de vita Anton.) But if they have no power over swine, the evil spirits have much less against men who are made after the image of God. We ought then to fear God alone, but despise them.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But the Lord granted them permission, that this might be among other things to us an occasion of benefit, and the confidence of our safety. It follows, And he suffered them. We must therefore consider that the evil spirits are hostile to those which are subject to them, and this will be evident from their sending down the swine violently into the waters and choking them; as it follows, Then went the devils out of the man and entered into the swine, and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. And this Christ permitted to them which sought it, that it might appear from the event how cruel they are. It was also necessary to shew that the Son of God has no less power to foresee than the Father, that equal glory might be manifested in each.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. (Vide Victor. Ant. in Mark 5.) But the shepherds take flight, lest they should perish with the swine. Hence it follows, When they that fed them saw what was done they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country, and excited the like alarm among the citizens. But the severity of their loss led them to the Saviour; for it follows, Then they went out to see what was done, and came to Jesus; and here remark, that while God punishes men in their substance, He confers a blessing upon their souls. But when they had set out, they see him in his right mind who had been long vexed. It follows, And they found the man out of whom the devils had departed sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed, (whereas before he was naked,) and in his right mind. For he departed not from those feet, where he obtained safety; and so acknowledging the miracle, they were astonished at the cure of the malady, and marvelled at the event; for it follows, And they were afraid. But this thing they discover partly by sight, partly hearing it in words. It follows, They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. But they ought to have besought the Lord not to depart from them, but to be the guardian of their country, that no evil spirits might come near them; but through fear they lost their own salvation, asking the Saviour to depart. It follows, Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from, them, for they were taken with great fear.

THEOPHYLACT. They feared lest they should again suffer some loss, as they had suffered in the drowning of the swine.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) But observe the humility of Christ; for when after conferring so great benefits upon them they sent Him away, He offers no obstacle, but departs, leaving those who had proclaimed themselves unworthy of His teaching. It follows, And he went up into the ship, and returned back again.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. But as He was departing, the man who had been afflicted will not part from his Saviour, for it follows, Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him.

THEOPHYLACT. For as one who had been tried by experience, he feared, lest perhaps when far from Jesus he should again become the prey of evil spirits. But the Lord shews him, that though He is not present with him, He can protect by His grace, for it follows, But Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done for thee. But he said not, “how great things I have done for thee,” giving us an example of humility, that we should attribute all our righteousness to God.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. He does not however turn aside from the law of truth, for whatever the Son doth the Father doth. But why does He, who every where charged those who were delivered to tell no one, say to this man who was delivered from the legion, Shew how great things God hath done for thee? Because in truth that whole country knew not God, and was in bondage to the worship of devils. Or more truly, now that He refers the miracle to His Father, He says, Shew how great, &c. but when He speaks of Himself He charges to tell no one. But he who was healed of the evil spirits knew Jesus to be God, and therefore published what great things God had done for him. For it follows, And he went through the whole city, &c.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) And so abandoning those who had proclaimed themselves unworthy of His teaching, He appoints as their teacher the man who had been released from the evil spirits.

BEDE. Now mystically; Gerasa signifies the Gentile nations, whom after His passion and resurrection Christ visited in His preachers. Hence Gerasa or Gergesa, as some say, is by interpretation “casting out an inhabitant,” that is, the devil by whom it was before possessed, or, “a stranger approaching,” who before was afar off.

AMBROSE. Now although the number of those healed by Christ is different in Luke and Matthew, yet the mystery is one and the same. For as he who had a devil is the figure of the Gentile people, the two also in like manner take the figure of the Gentiles. For whereas Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet; the family of Shem only was called to the possession of God, and from the other two the people of different nations were descended. He (as Luke says) had devils long time, inasmuch as the Gentile people was vexed from the deluge down to our Lord’s coming. But he was naked, because the Gentiles lost the garment of their nature and virtue.

AUGUSTINE. (de Quæst. Ev. l. ii. q. 13.) He abode in no house, that is, he had no rest in his conscience; he dwelt among the tombs, because he delighted in dead works in his sins.

AMBROSE. Or what are the bodies of the unbelieving but kinds of tombs in which the word of God abides not?

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) Now that he was bound by brazen fetters and chains, signifies the harsh and severe laws of the Gentiles, by which also in their states offences are restrained. But, that having burst these chains he was driven by the evil spirit into the wilderness, means that having broken through these laws, he was also led by lust to those crimes which exceeded the ordinary life of men. By the expression that there was in him a legion of devils, the nations are signified who served many devils. But the fact that the devils were permitted to go into the swine, which fed on the mountains, signifies also the unclean and proud men over whom the evil spirits have dominion, because of their worship of idols. For the swine are they who, after the manner of unclean animals without speech and reason, have defiled the grace of their natural virtues by the filthy actions of their life.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) But by their being sent down violently into the lake, it is meant that the Church has been purified, and now that the Gentiles are delivered from the dominion of evil spirits, those who refuse to believe in Christ, carry on their unholy rites in hidden places with dark and secret watchings.

AMBROSE. They are carried violently down, for they are reclaimed not by the contemplation of any good deed, but thrust as from a higher place to a lower, along the downward path of iniquity, they perish amidst the waves of this world, shut out from the approach of air. For they who are carried to and fro by the rapid tide of pleasure cannot receive the communication of the Spirit; we see then that man himself is the author of his own misery. For unless a man lived like the swine, the devil would never have received power over him, or received it, not to destroy but to prove him. And perhaps the devil, who after the coming of our Lord can no longer steal away the good, seeks not the destruction of all men, but only the wanton, as the robber lies in wait not for armed men, but the unarmed. When those who kept the herd saw this they fled. For neither the teachers of philosophy nor the chief of the synagogue can bring a cure to perishing mankind. It is Christ alone who takes away the sins of the people.

AUGUSTINE. (de Qu. Evan. l. ii. q. 13.) Or, by the herdsmen of the swine flying and telling these things, He represents certain rulers of the wicked, who though they evade the law of Christianity, yet proclaim it among the nations by their astonishment and wonder. But by the Gerasenes, when they knew what was done, asking Jesus to depart from them, for they were struck with great fear, he represents the multitude delighting in their old pleasures, honouring indeed, but unwilling to endure the Christian law, saying that they cannot fulfil it, while they still marvel at the faithful released from their former abandoned mode of life.

AMBROSE. Or there seems to have been a kind of synagogue in the city of the Gerasenes who besought our Lord to depart, because they were seized with great fear. For the weak mind receives not the word of God, nor can it endure the burden of wisdom. And therefore He no longer troubled them, but ascends from the lower parts to the higher, from the Synagogue to the Church, and returned across the lake. For no one passes from the Church to the Synagogue without endangering his salvation. But whoever desires to pass from the Synagogue to the Church, let him take up his cross, that he may avoid the danger.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) But that he, now that he is healed, desires to be with Christ, and it is said to him, Return to thy house, and tell what great things God has done for thee, implies that each should understand, that after the remission of his sins he should return to a good conscience as to his home, and obey the Gospel for the salvation of others, in order that there he may rest with Christ, lest by too early wishing to be with Christ he neglect the ministry of preaching necessary for this redemption of his brethren.

8:40–48

40. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.

41. And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:

42. For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.

43. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44. Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

45. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

46. And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

47. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

48. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole: go in peace.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. l. ii. c. 28.) After relating the miracle of the Gadarenes, Luke goes on to relate that of the ruler of the synagogue’s daughter; saying, And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.

THEOPHYLACT. At once both because of His teaching, and His miracles.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) But the event which He adds, And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, must not be supposed to have taken place immediately, but first that of the feast of the publicans which Matthew mentions, (Matt. 9:18.) to which he so joins on this that it cannot consequently be understood to have happened otherwise.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. (Vide Victor. Ant. in Mark 5.) The name is inserted for the sake of the Jews, who at that time well knew the event, that the name might be a demonstrative proof of the miracle. And there came not one of the lowest, but a ruler of the synagogue, that the mouths of the Jews might be the more closed. As it follows, And he was a ruler of the synagogue. Now he came to Christ because of his need; for grief sometimes urges us to do those things which are right, according to the Psalm, Hold their mouths with bit and bridle, who come not nigh unto thee. (Ps. 32:9.)

THEOPHYLACT. Through urgent need then he fell at His feet, as it follows, And he fell at Jesus’ feet; but it were right for him without a pressing necessity to fall at Christ’s feet and acknowledge Him to be God.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 31. in Matt.) But mark his dulness of heart, for it follows, and besought him that he would come into his house; being ignorant in truth that He was able to heal when absent. For if he had known, he would have said as the centurion did, Speak the word, and my daughter shall be healed.

GREEK EXPOSITOR. (Asterius.) But the cause of his coming is told by adding, For he had only one daughter, the prop of his house, the succession of his race, about twelve years old, in the very flower of her age; and she lay dying, about to be carried to the grave instead of her nuptial bed.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) But the Lord had come not to judge the world, but to save it. Whereupon He does not weigh the rank of the petitioner, but calmly undertakes the work, knowing that what was to happen would be greater than what was asked. For He was called to heal the sick, but He knew that He would raise up one that was by this time dead, and implant on the earth a firm hope of the resurrection.

AMBROSE. But when about to raise the dead, in order to bring faith to the ruler of the synagogue, He first cured the issue of blood. So also a temporal resurrection is celebrated at the Passion of our Lord, that the other might be believed to be eternal. But as he went, the people thronged him.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. (v. Chrys. 31. in Matt.) This was the greatest sign that He had really put on our flesh, and trampled under foot all pride. For they followed Him not afar off, but thronged Him.

GREEK EXPOSITOR. (ubi sup.) Now a certain woman afflicted with a severe disease, whose infirmity had consumed her body, but physicians all her substance, finds her only hope in such great humbleness that she falls down before our Lord; of whom it follows, And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, &c.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. (non occ.) Of how great praise then is this woman worthy, who with her bodily powers exhausted by the continual issue of blood, and with so great a crowd thronging around Him, in the strength of her affection and faith entered the crowd, and coming behind, secretly touched the hem of His garment.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. For it was not lawful for the unclean either to touch any of the holy saints, or come near a holy man.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 31. in Matt.) For by the custom of the Law a malady of this kind was accounted a great uncleanness. (Lev. 15:19–25.) Independently of this also, she had not yet a right estimation of Him, else she would not have thought to remain concealed, but nevertheless she came trusting to be healed.

THEOPHYLACT. But as when a man turns his eye to a shining light, or puts fuel to the fire, immediately they have their effects; so indeed he who brings faith to Him who is able to cure, immediately obtains his cure; as it is said, and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

CHRYSOSTOM. But not the garments alone saved her, (for the soldiers also allotted them among themselves,) but the earnestness of her faith.

THEOPHYLACT. For she believed, and was saved, and as was fitting first touched Christ with her mind, then with her body.

GREEK EXPOSITOR. (Asterius.) But the Lord heard the woman’s silent thoughts, and silently released her silent, permitting willingly the seizing of her cure. But afterwards He makes known the miracle, as it follows: And Jesus said, Who touched me?

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. For the miracle which was performed escaped not the Lord, but He who knew all things asks as if He were ignorant.

GREEK EXPOSITOR. (Victor. Ant.) Now His disciples who knew not what was asked, but supposed He spoke merely of one touching Him, answer our Lord’s question, as follows, When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude press thee and throng thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? Our Lord therefore distinguishes the touching by His answer, as it follows, And Jesus said, Somebody has touched me: as He said also, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear, although all had bodily hearing of this kind; but it is not truly hearing if a man hear carelessly, nor truly touching if he touch unfaithfully. He now therefore publishes what was done, as it is added, For I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. He answers rather materially, in consideration of the minds of His hearers. He is here, however, manifested to us to be the true God, both by His miraculous deed, and by His word. For it is beyond us, and perhaps beyond angels also, to be able to communicate virtue as from our own nature. This belongs to the Supreme Nature alone. For nothing created possesses the power of healing, or even of doing any other like miracles, except it be divinely given. But it was not from desire of glory that He suffered not to remain concealed the exhibition of His divine power, Who had so often charged silence about His miracles, but because He looked to their advantage who are called through faith to grace.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) For first He removes the woman’s fear, lest she should suffer the pangs of conscience, for as it were stealing the grace. Next He reproves her for thinking to lie concealed. Thirdly, He makes known her faith publicly for the sake of others, and betrays no less a miracle than the stanching of blood, by shewing that all things are open to His sight.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Moreover, He persuaded the ruler of the synagogue to believe undoubtingly that He would rescue his daughter from the hands of death.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) Now our Lord did not immediately discover her, for this reason, that by shewing that all things are known to Him, He might make the woman publish what was done, that the miracle might be free from all suspicion. Hence it follows, And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling.

ORIGEN. But the same cure which the woman obtained by touching Him, our Saviour confirmed by His word; as it follows, And he said unto her, Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, that is, Be released from thy scourge. And indeed He first heals her soul by faith, then truly her body.

TITUS BOSTRENSIS. (non occ.) He calls her daughter, as already healed because of her faith, for faith claims the grace of adoption.

EUSEBIUS. (Eccles. Hist. l. vii. c. 18.) Now they say that the woman set up in Paneas (Cæsarea Philippi, whence she came) a noble triumphal monument of the mercy vouchsafed to her by the Saviour. For there stood upon a lofty pedestal near the entrance to her house a brasen statue of a woman on bended knees, and with her hands joined as if in prayer; opposite to which was erected another statue like to a man, made of the same material, clothed in a stole, (διπλοῑς.a) and holding forth his hand to the woman. At his feet upon the base itself a strange kind of plant was growing, which reaching to the hem of the brasen stole, was said to be the cure of all diseases. And they said that this statue represents Christ. It was destroyed by Maximinus.

AMBROSE. Now mystically Christ had left the synagogue in Gerasa, and Him whom His own received not we strangers receive.

BEDE. Or at the end of the world the Lord is about to return to the Jews, and to be gladly received by them through confession of the faith.

AMBROSE. But whom do we suppose the chief of the synagogue to be, but the Law, from consideration of which our Lord had not entirely abandoned the synagogue.

BEDE. Or, by the ruler of the synagogue is understood Moses. Hence he is rightly called Jairus, that is, “enlightening” or “enlightened,” as he who receives the words of life to give to us, thereby both enlightens others, and is himself also enlightened by the Holy Spirit. But the ruler of the synagogue fell at the feet of Jesus, because the lawgiver with the whole race of the patriarchs knew that Christ, appearing in the flesh, would be far preferred to them. For if the head of Christ is God, (1 Cor. 11:3.) His feet must agreeably to this be taken for the Incarnation, by which He touched the earth of our mortality. The ruler asked Him to enter into his house, because he was desirous to behold His coming. His only daughter is the Synagogue, which alone was framed with a legal institution; which at twelve years of age, that is, when the time of puberty was approaching, lay dying; for having been brought up nobly by the prophets, as soon as it came to years of discretion, when it ought to bring forth spiritual fruits to God, being suddenly subdued through its weakness and error, it forgot to enter the way of spiritual life, and unless Christ had come to its help, would have fallen away into destruction. But the Lord going to heal the girl is thronged by the crowd, because giving wholesome warnings to the Jewish nation, He was borne down by the customs of a carnal people.

AMBROSE. But while the Word of God hastens to this daughter of the ruler that He might save the children of Israel, the holy Church collected from among the Gentiles which was perishing by its falling away into gross crimes, seized first by faith the health prepared for others.

BEDE. Now the issue of blood may be taken in two ways, that is, both for the prostitution of idolatry, and for those things which are done for the delights of the flesh and blood.

AMBROSE. But what means it that this daughter of the ruler was dying at twelve years, and the woman was afflicted with the issue of blood for twelve years, but that it might be understood that as long as the Synagogue flourished the Church was weak. For almost in the same age of the world, the Synagogue began to grow up among the patriarchs, and idolatry to pollute the Gentile nation.

AMBROSE. But as she had spent all her substance upon physicians, so the Gentile nations had lost all the gifts of nature.

BEDE. Now by physicians understand either false doctors, or philosophers and teachers of secular laws, who disputing much concerning virtue and vice, promised that they would give to mortals useful instructions for life; or suppose that by the physicians are signified the unclean spirits themselves, who by giving as it were advice to men, procure themselves to be worshipped as God, on listening to whom the Gentiles the more they consumed the strength of their natural industry, so much the less were they able to be cured from the pollution of their iniquity.

AMBROSE. Now hearing that the people of the Jews were sick, she begins to hope for the remedy of their salvation; she knew that the time was arrived when a Physician should come from heaven, she rose to meet Him, more ready from faith, more backward from modesty. For this is the part of modesty and faith to acknowledge weakness, not to despair of pardon. From modesty then she touched the hem of His garment; in faith she came, in piety believed, in wisdom knew herself to be healed; so the holy people of the Gentiles which believed God, blushed at its sins so as to desert them, offered its faith in believing, shewed its devotion in asking, put on wisdom in itself feeling its own cure, assumed boldness to confess that it had forestalled what was not its own. Now Christ is touched behind, as it is written, Thou shall walk after the Lord thy God (Deut. 13:4.)

BEDE. And He Himself says, If any man serve me, let him follow me. (John 13:26.) Or, because not seeing Christ present in the flesh, now that the sacraments of the temporary dispensation were completed, the Church began to follow His footsteps through faith.

GREGORY. (Mor. 3. c. 11. Job 2.) But while the crowd thronged Him, one woman touched our Redeemer, because all carnal men in the Church oppress Him from whom they are afar off, and they alone touch Him who are joined to Him in humility. () The crowd therefore press Him and touch Him not, because it is both importunate in presence, and absent in life.

BEDE. Or one believing woman touches the Lord, since Christ who is afflicted beyond measure by the diverse heresies multiplying around Him, is faithfully sought by the heart alone of the Catholic Church.

AMBROSE. For they believe not who throng Him; they believe who touch. By faith Christ is touched, by faith He is seen. Lastly, to express the faith of her who touched Him, He says, I know that virtue is gone out of me, which is a more palpable sign, that the Divine Nature is not confined within the possibility of man’s condition, and the compass of the human body, but eternal virtue overflows beyond the bounds of our mediocrity. For the Gentile people is not released by man’s aid, but the gathering of nations is the gift of God, which even by its little faith turns to itself the everlasting mercy. For if we think what our faith is, and understand how great the Son of God is, we see that in comparison of Him we touch only the hem, we cannot reach the upper parts of the garment. If then we also wish to be cured, let us touch by faith the hem of Christ. But he who has touched Him is not hidden. Happy the man who has touched the extreme part of the Word. For who can comprehend the whole?

8:49–56

49. While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.

50. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

51. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.

52. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.

53. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.

54. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

55. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.

56. And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 31. in Matt.) Our Lord conveniently waited until the death of the girl, that the miracle of her resurrection might be made public. For which reason also He goes slower, and speaks longer with the woman, that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue may expire, and messengers come to tell Him. As it is said, While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying unto him, Thy daughter is dead.

AUGUSTINE. (de Con. Ev. l. ii. c. 28.) But since Matthew states the ruler of the synagogue to have told our Lord that his daughter was not on the point of death but quite dead, and Luke and Mark say, that she was not yet dead, nay, even go so far as to say that there came some afterwards, who told her death; we must examine, lest they should seem to be at variance. And we must understand that for the sake of brevity, Matthew chose rather to say, that our Lord was asked to do what it is obvious He did, namely, to raise the dead. For our Lord needs not the words of the father concerning his daughter, but what is more important, his wishes. Certainly, if the other two or any one of them had mentioned that the father had said what those who came from the house said, that Jesus need not be troubled because the maid was dead, His words which Matthew has related would seem to be at variance with his thoughts. But now to those who brought that message, and said that the Master need not come, it is not said that the father assented. The Lord therefore did not blame him as distrustful, but the more strongly confirms his belief. As it follows, But when Jesus heard it, he answered the father of the girl, Believe only, &c.

ATHANASIUS. (Orat. in Pass. et Crucem. Dom. 4.) Our Lord requires faith from those who invoke Him, not because He needs the assistance of others, (for He is both the Lord and Giver of faith,) but not to seem to bestow His gifts according to His acceptance of persons, He shews that He favours those who believe, lest they should receive benefits without faith, and lose them by unbelief. For when He bestows a favour, He wishes it to last, and when He heals, the cure to remain undisturbed.

THEOPHYLACT. When He was about to raise the dead He put all out, as teaching us to be free from vain-glory, and to do nothing for show, for when any one ought to perform miracles, he must not be in the midst of a great many, but alone and apart from the other. As it follows, And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John. Now these only He permitted to enter as the Heads of His disciples, and able to conceal the miracle. For He did not wish to be revealed to many before His time, perhaps on account of the envy of the Jews. So also when any one envies us, we ought not to make known to him our righteousness, lest we give him an occasion of greater envy.

CHRYSOSTOM. (ubi sup.) But He took not with Him His other disciples, so provoking them to a strange desire, because also they were not yet fully prepared, but He took Peter, and with him the sons of Zebedee, that the others also might imitate them. He took also the parents as witnesses, lest any should say the evidence of the resurrection was false. Luke adds to this also, that He shut out from the house those that were weeping, and shewed that they were unworthy of a sight of this kind. For it follows, And they all wept, and bewailed her. But if He then shut them out, much more now. For then it had not yet been revealed that death was turned into sleep. Let no one then hereafter despise himself, bringing an insult to the victory of Christ, whereby He has overcome death, and turned it into sleep. In proof of which it is added, But he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth, &c. shewing that all things were at His command, and that He would bring her to life as if He were awakening her from sleep. They yet nevertheless laughed Him to scorn. For it follows, And they laughed him to scorn. He did not reprove them nor put an end to their laughter, that laughter also might be a sign of death. For since generally, after a miracle has been performed men continue unfaithful, He takes them by their own words. But that He might by sight dispose to the belief of the resurrection, He takes the hand of the maid. As it follows, But he took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And when He had taken her by the hand, He awoke her. As it follows, And her spirit returned, and she arose straightway. For He poured not into her another soul, but restored the same which she had breathed forth. Nor does he only awake the maid, but orders her to take food. For it follows, And he commanded to give her meat. That it might not seem like a vision what was done. Nor did He Himself give to her, but He commanded others to do it. As also He said in the case of Lazarus, Loose him. (John 11:44.) And afterwards He made him partake of meat with Him.

GREEK EXPOSITOR. (Severus.) He next charges the parents, astonished at the miracle, and almost crying out, not to publish abroad what was done. As it follows, And her parents were astonished; but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done; shewing that He is the Giver of good things, but not covetous of glory, and that He gives the whole, receiving nothing. But he who seeks after the glory of his works has indeed shewn forth something, but receives something.

BEDE. But mystically, when the woman was cured of the issue of blood, word is brought that the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue is dead; because while the Church was cleansed from the stain of its sins, the Synagogue was forthwith destroyed by unbelief and envy; by unbelief indeed, in that it refused to believe in Christ; by envy, in that it was grieved that the Church had believed.

AMBROSE. But still also were the servants of the ruler incredulous with regard to the resurrection, which Jesus had foretold in the Law, fulfilled in the Gospel; therefore say they, Do not trouble him; (Ps. 16.) as if it were impossible for Him to raise the dead.

BEDE. Or this is even to this day said by those who see the state of the synagogue so destitute that they do not believe it can be restored, and therefore think nothing of praying for its resurrection. But those things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Therefore said the Lord to him, Fear not, only believe, and she shall be made whole. (Luke 18:27.) The father of the girl is taken for the assembly of the doctors of the Law, which if it were willing to believe, the Synagogue also which is subject to it will be safe.

AMBROSE. Therefore having entered into the house, He called a few to be judges of the coming resurrection: for the resurrection was not soon believed by the many. What then was the cause of this great difference? In a former case the widow’s son is raised up before all, here a few only are set apart to judge. But I think that herein the mercy of the Lord is shewn, since the widowed mother of an only son suffered no delay. There is also the token of wisdom, that in the widow’s son we should see the Church quick in believing; in the ruler of the synagogue’s daughter, the Jews about indeed to believe, but out of a great many only a few. Lastly, when our Lord says, She is not dead, but sleepeth, they laughed Him to scorn. For whoever believes not, laughs. Let them therefore mourn their dead who think they are dead. Where there is a belief of the resurrection, the notion is not of death but of rest.

BEDE. The Synagogue also, because it has lost the joy of the Bridegroom, whereby alone it can live. lying dead as it were among those that mourn, understands not even the reason why it weeps.

AMBROSE. Now the Lord taking hold of the hand of the maid, cured her. Blessed is he whom wisdom takes by the hand, that she may bring him into her secret places, and command to be given him to eat. For the bread of heaven is the word of God. Hence comes also that wisdom which has filled its altars with the food of the body and blood of God. Come, she says, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mixed for you. (Prov. 9:5.)

BEDE. Now the maid arose straightway, because when Christ strengthens the hand, man revives from the death of the soul. For there are some, who only by the secret thought of sin are conscious of bringing death to themselves. The Lord signifying that such He brings to life again, raised the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. But others, by committing the very evil in which they delight, carry their dead as it were without the gates, and to shew that He raises these, He raised the widow’s son without the gates. But some also, by habits of sin, bury themselves, as it were, and become corrupt; and to raise these also the grace of the Saviour is not wanting; to intimate which He raised from the dead Lazarus, who had been four days in the grave. But the deeper the death of the soul, so much the more intense should be the fervour of penitence. Hence He raises with a gentle voice the maid who lay dead in the room, the youth who was carried out He strengthens with many words, but to raise him who had been dead four days, He groaned in His spirit, He poured forth tears, and cried with a loud voice. But here also we must observe, that a public calamity needs a public remedy. Slight offences seek to be blotted out by secret penitence. The maid lying in the house rises again with few witnesses; the youth without the house is raised in the presence of a great crowd who accompanied him. Lazarus summoned from the tomb was known to many nations.








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