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Lk 14: 16-24 - Patristic Commentary

for THE benefit OF THE pharisees. cyril of alexandria: A Pharisee, of higher rank than usual, invited Jesus to a banquet. Although he knew their bad intentions, he went with him and ate in their company. He did not submit to this act of condescension to honor his host. He rather instructed his fellow guests by words and miracu­lous deeds that might lead them to the acknowl­edgment of the true service, even that taught us by the gospel. He knew that even against their will he would make them eyewitnesses of his power and his suprahuman glory. Perhaps they might believe that he is God and the Son of God, who took on our likeness but was unchanged and did not cease to be what he had been. commen­tary on luke, homily 101.

pharisees Do not know How to keep the sabbath. cyril of alexandria: He be­came the guest of his host to fulfill a duty. It says, "They watched him." Why did they watch him? They watched to see if he would disregard the honor of the law and so do something forbidden on the sabbath day. O senseless Jew, understand that the law was a shadow and type, waiting for the truth. The truth was Christ and his command­ments. Why then do you arm the type against the

truth? Why set the shadow in array against the spiritual interpretation? Keep your sabbath rationally. ... Those who had the office to minister among you according to the law used to offer God the appointed sacrifices, even on the sabbath. They slaughtered the victims in the temple and per-formed the acts of service that were required of them. No one rebuked them, and the law itself was silent. It did not forbid people ministering on the sabbath. This was a type for us. As I said, it is our duty, keeping the sabbath in a rational manner, to please God by a sweet spiritual fragrance. As I have already said, we perform this when ceasing from sins, we offer God a life holy and worthy of admiration as a sacred oblation, steadily advancing to all virtue. This is the spiritual sacrifice well pleasing to God. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY

101.

THE LAW DOES NOT FORBID MERCY ON THE SABBATH. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: As they were silent from ill will, Christ refutes their unrelenting shamelessness by the convincing arguments that he uses. "Whose son of you," he says, "or whose ox shall fall into a pit, and he will not immediately draw him out on the sabbath day?" If the law forbids showing mercy on the sabbath, why do you take compassion on that which has fallen into the pit?... The God of all does not cease to be kind. He is good and loving to people. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 101.

14:7-14 First and Last at the Banquet Table

JESUS CALLS Us TO BE HUMBLE, MODEST AND PRAISEWORTHY. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: "When," he says, "a man more honorable than you comes, he that invited you and him will say, 'Give this man place.'" Oh, what great shame is there in having to do this! It is like a theft, so to speak, and the restitution of the stolen goods. He must restore what he has seized because he had no right to take it. The modest and praiseworthy person, who without fear of blame might have claimed the dignity of sitting among the foremost, does not seek it. He yields to others what might be called his own, that he may not even seem to be overcome by empty pride. Such a one shall receive honor as his due. He says, "He shall hear him who invited him say, 'Come up here.'"...

If any one among you wants to be set above others, let him win it by the decree of heaven and be crowned by those honors that God bestows. Let him surpass the many by having the testimony of glorious virtues. The rule of virtue is a lowly mind that does not love boasting. It is humility. The blessed Paul also counted this worthy of all esteem. He writes to those who eagerly desire saintly pursuits, "Love humility." COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 101.

THE HUMBLE AND THE PROUD. AUGUSTINE: There are humble religious, and there are proud religious. The proud ones should not promise themselves the kingdom of God. The place to which dedicated chastity leads is certainly higher, but the one who exalts himself will be humbled. Why seek the higher place with an appetite for the heights, when you can make it simply by holding on to lowliness? If you exalt yourself, God throws you down. If you cast yourself down, God lifts you up. One may not add to or subtract from the Lord's pronouncement. SERMON 354.8.

JACOB'S LADDER THE PLACE OF EXALTATION OR HUMILIATION. BENEDICT: The Scripture asserts that "everyone that exalts himself will be humbled, and he that humbles himself will be exalted." …

If we want to attain to true humility and come quickly to the top of that heavenly ascent to which we can only mount by lowliness in this present life, we must ascend by good works. We must erect the mystical ladder of Jacob, where angels ascending and descending appeared to him. Ascent and descent mean that we go downward when we exalt ourselves and rise when we are humbled. The ladder represents our life in this world, which our Lord erects to heaven when our heart is humbled. The sides of the ladder represent our soul and body, sides between which God has placed several rungs of humility and discipline, whereby we are to ascend if we would answer his call. RULE OF ST. BENEDICT 7.7

THE POOR INVITED TO THE TABLE. IRENAEUS: Where are the hundredfold rewards in this age for the dinners offered to the poor? These things will be during the times of the kingdom, on the seventh day that is sanctified when God rested from all his works that he made. This is the true sabbath of the just, in which they will have no earthly work to do, but will have a table prepared before them by God, who will feed them with all kinds of delicacies. AGAINST HERESIES 5.33.2.8

14;15-24 The Banquet Beatitude and Story

WHY JESUS TOLD THE PARABLE. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: One of those who were sitting at the table with them said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God." Probably this man was not yet spiritual but earthly, and not able to understand correctly what Christ spoke. He was not one of those who believed, nor had he been baptized. He supposed that the rewards of the saints for their mutual labors of love would be in things pertaining to the body. Since they were too dull in heart to comprehend a precise idea, Christ outlines for them a parable chat explains the nature of the era about to be instituted for their sakes. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 104.

THE HEAVENLY FOOD OF JESUS'WORD. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: The holy agape is the sublime and saving creation of the Lord....

An agape is in reality heavenly food, a banquet of the Word. The agape, or love, "bears all things, endures all things, hopes all things. Love never fails. "Blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God." The most unlikely of all downfalls is charity that does not fail" to be thrown down from heaven to earth among all these dainty seasonings. Do you still imagine that I refer to a meal that will be destroyed? "If I distribute my goods to the poor and do not have love," Scripture says, "I am nothing." The whole law and the word depend on this love. If you love the Lord your God and your neighbor,' there will be a heavenly feast in heaven. The earthly feast, as we have proved from Scripture, is called a supper. It is permeated with love yet is not identified with it but is an expression of mutual and generous good will. CHRIST THE EDUCATOR 2.i.16

THE BREAD OF ETERNAL LIFE. ATHANASIUS: Oh, brothers and sisters, what a banquet that is! How great is the harmony and joy of those who eat at this heavenly table! They enjoy food that produces everlasting life, not that ordinary food which passes right on through the body. Who will be considered worthy to be in that group? Who is so blessed as to be called to and counted worthy of that divine feast? "Blessed is he who will eat bread in your kingdom." Although he has been washed, even a person who has been judged worthy of this heavenly calling and has been sanctified by it can become unclean. How can he become unclean? "Counting as unclean the blood of the covenant by which be was sanctified and despising the Spirit of grace,"17 he hears the Lord say, "Friend, how did you get in here without wedding garments?"18 FESTAL LETTER."

GOD THE FATHER PROVIDES THB SUPPER. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: We understand the man to be God the Father. For similes represent the truth but are not the truth itself. The Creator of the universe and the Father of glory made a great supper, a festival for the whole world, in honor of Christ. In the last times of the world and at our world's setting, the Son rose for us. At this time, he suffered death for our sakes and gave us to eat his flesh, the bread from heaven that gives life to the world. Toward evening and by the light of torches, the lamb was also sacrificed according to the law of Moses. With good reason, the invitation that is by Christ is called a supper. COMMENTARY ON LUKE HOMILY 104.



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