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Meatfare Sunday

When someone is brought into the presence of a king or a judge, on the spot where he is ordered to stand he will learn whether he has been brought in because of the good he did or the evil (incomplete work on matthew). He who knows our thoughts, who foresees all human works and knows how to judge rightly, will separate them according to the merits of each person, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (epiphanius the latin). The sheep signify righteous people by reason of their gentleness, because they harm no one, and by reason of their patience, because when they are harmed by others, they bear it without resistance. Jesus refers to sinners as goats, however, because these vices characterize goats: capriciousness, pride and belligerence (incomplete work on matthew). If Jesus has appeared in a lowly role, he now appears in an entirely different role, in which he reproaches, confronts and sits on his throne of glory (Chrysostom).

Even as Christ is healthy in souls that are healthy, he is ailing in souls that are ailing. They welcome Christ himself and clothe, by teaching righteousness, those who are naked and even without a garment of righteousness (incomplete work on matthew). They have woven a garment for the cold and shivering Christ (origen). But he curses the works of those at his left hand. "I prepared the kingdom for you," he says, "but the fire I did not prepare for you but for the devil and his angels." But you have cast yourselves in it. You have imputed it to yourselves. Even when you see a dog hungry, you feel sympathy. But when you see the Lord hungry, you ignore it. You are left without excuse (chrysostom).

25:31 The Son of Man Coming in Glory
when he comes in His glory.

chrysostom: In his previous parables when he speaks of two persons he is referring to two portions of humanity, the disobedient and the obedient. Here he speaks out more fearfully and with fuller clarity.

He does not say that the coming kingdom is compared to this or that, as he has been speaking previously, but now openly shows himself to be the Son of man, who "shall come in his glory." If he has up to now appeared in a condition of dishonor, now he appears in a different role. He reproaches. He confronts. He sits upon his throne of glory.

And he continually mentions glory. For his cross was drawing near, a thing that seemed to be a matter of reproach. So he lifts his hearers up and brings before their sight the judgment seat, with all the world gathered around him. the gospel OF matthew, homily 79.I.

the son of man.

jerome: Jesus rightly promises that the glory of the triumphant one [would follow] after two days in which he would celebrate the Passover and be consigned to the cross, mocked by humanity and given wine and gall to drink. Thus he will offset with the promised reward the blameworthy actions to follow. Clearly he who is to be seen in majesty is the Son of man. commentary on matthew 4.25.33.

all the angels WITH him.

chrysostom: And not in this way only does he make his discourse awesome but also by showing the heavens opened. For all the angels will be present with him. They are there to bear witness to the many ways they had served when sent by the Lord for the salvation of humanity. Everything spoken of that day shows that it is fearful. Then "shall be gathered together," he says, "all nations," that is, all humankind. the gospel of matthew, homily 79.I.

25:32-33 Gathering and Separating:
gathered before him.

epiphanius THE latin: How can he be the Son of man when he is God and will come to judge all nations? He is the Son of man because he appeared on earth as a man and was persecuted as a man. Therefore this person who they said was a man will raise all nations from the dead and judge every person according to his works. Every race on earth will see him, both those who rejected him and those who despised him as a man. They will see him then, but not everyone in the same way: some will see him in punishment and others in heavenly bliss. All nations will be gathered together by the angels from the foundation of the world, beginning first with Adam and Eve down to the last person on earth—whoever experienced human birth. "And he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." He, our Lord, who knows our thoughts, who foresees all human works and knows how to judge righteously, will separate them according to the merits of each person, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. interpretation of the gospels 38.

he will separate them.

incomplete work on matthew: "And he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." So then, people on earth are intermingled, and not only intermingled in that the righteous live side by side with the wicked, but they are also indistinguishable, Between the righteous and the wicked there is no apparent difference. Even as in wintertime you cannot tell the healthy trees apart from the withered trees but in beautiful springtime you can tell the difference, so too each person according to his faith and his works will be exposed. The wicked will not have any leaves or show any fruit, but the righteous will be clothed with the leaves of eternal life and adorned with the fruit of glory. In this way they will be separated by the heavenly shepherd and Lord. The earthly shepherd separates animals by their type of body, whereas Christ separates people by their type of soul. The sheep signify righteous people by reason of their gentleness, because they harm no one, and by reason of their patience, because when they are harmed by others, they bear it without resistance. He refers to sinners as goats, however, because these vices characterize goats: capriciousness toward other animals, pride and belligerence. homily 54.

right AND left.

incomplete work ON matthew: "And he will place the sheep at his right hand but the goats at the left." When someone is brought into the presence of a king or a judge, on the very spot where he is ordered to stand he will learn whether he has been brought in because of the good he did or the evil. If he has been brought in because of the good, he is immediately made to stand close; if because of the evil, he is ordered to stand at a distance. So too God will place the righteous at his right hand but the goats at the left. Each one will know what his merits are, then and there. When judgment is passed, the punishment of shame will follow. He will justly place the righteous at his right hand, because they never knew the left side; he will justly place the wicked at the left, because they never wanted to know the right side. homily 54.

25:34 Blessed by My Father
inherit the kingdom.

chrysostom: He commended them for doing what was right. He reveals how great is his bond of love for them and has been from the beginning. "Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'" To what other blessedness could this blessedness be compared? To be blessed of the Father! Why were they counted worthy of such a great honor? "I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink." What honor! What blessedness!

He did not say "take" but "inherit" as one's own, as your Father's, as yours, as due to you from the first. "For before you were," he says, "these things had been prepared and made ready for you, because I knew you would be such as you are." the gospel of matthew, homily 79.2.

first THE right hand.

incompletework on matthew: "Then he will say to those at his right hand ..." And why will he not address first those at his left? Because God is always more willing to praise than to denounce. For he gives good things to those who are good according to his intentions because he is good; but to those who are bad, he reluctantly gives bad things against his intentions because he is a judge. Whatever humanity does against his nature, he does rather hesitantly. If indeed Christ delighted in the punishment of sinners, he never would have delivered himself up for them. "Come, O blessed of my Father," he says, "inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." You who sowed one seed on earth will deservedly have a hundredfold in heaven. Indeed, the kingdom of heaven has not been created according to what human righteousness deserves but according to what God's power can prepare."! was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink." And many other acts of mercy, as we pointed out. homily 54.

25;35-40 Fed, Clothed, Welcomed
You gave me food.

chrysostom: Then, in order that you may see in another way also the justice of the sentence, he first praises those who have done right: "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food," and all that follows. Note that the judgment is in effect made by their fellow servants. This has happened before, when the virgins are judged by the virgins" and in the case of the drunken and gluttonous servant who was judged by the faithful servant. It happened once again in the case of the man who buried his talent, [who was judged] by the actions of those who produced more. …This is said to bring them to the point of answering, "When did we see you hungry?" the gospel of matthew, homily 79.2,

teaching AS feeding AND clothing.

incomplete work on matthew: This can also be said of teachers who gave the food of learning to those hungry for righteousness, so they might be fed and grow healthy in good actions; who administered the drink of truth to those thirsty for the knowledge of God. Teaching in the Word, they certainly fed them and also gave to drink, baptizing in the Holy Spirit those who are strangers in the world. For all souls are truly strangers on this earth who can say, "For I am your passing guest, a sojourner, like all my fathers." Preaching the word of faith, they welcome souls from the spreading of error and make them fellow citizens and family members of the saints. They welcome Christ himself and clothe, by teaching righteousness, those who are naked and even without a garment of righteousness. As is written: "Put on, then, compassion, faith, peace and kindness."That is to say, they clothe Christ and baptize them in Christ, as is written: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." homily 54.

A stranger or naked?

origen: In the same way, we have woven a garment for the cold and shivering Christ. We have received the fabric of wisdom from God that we may impart knowledge to some and clothe them with "compassion, chastity, kindness, lowliness" and the other virtues. All these virtues are the spiritual garments of those who have listened to the words of those who teach these virtues, according to him who says, "Put on, then, compassion, kindness, lowliness, gentleness" and so forth, more so Christ himself, who is all these things to the faithful, according to him who said, "Put on the Lord Jesus." Therefore, when we have clothed with garments of this type "one of the least" who believe in Christ, we have apparently clothed the Lord himself, so that the word of God in the world will not go naked. But we must also welcome the Son of God who became a stranger and the members of his body who are strangers in the world, untainted by all mundane actions, even as he says about himself and his disciples:

"They are not of the world, even as I am notofthe world." And Christ asks the Father to permit them to be with him where he is. commentary on matthew 72.

sick OR IN prison?

incompletework ON matthew: He who visits the sick and those languishing with the disease of earthly vices, who heals them with the medicine of good doctrine, heals Christ in them. Even as Christishealthy in souls that are healthy, he is ailing in souls that are ailing. But he is also the one who comes to those who have gone down to the world of the dead alive and are doing infernal work—that is, they are in prison and under guard of the devil. As Scripture says, "Let them go down to the world of the dead alive." Coming through his word, he leads them out of that infernal prison and frees them from the guard of the devil. They give thanks to him, saying, "O Lord my God, I cry to you for help, and you have healed me. O Lord, you have brought up my soul from the world of the dead."homily 54.

the lord hungers IN his saints.

epiphanius the latin: "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink."[Jesus mentions] many other things, which we have recited. Having been given the faith, the righteous say, "Lord, when did see you hungry and fed you, thirsty, and gave you something to drink, naked and clothed you?" Other things also follow. What then, my most beloved? Does our Lord hunger and thirst? Is he who himself made everything in heaven and on earth, who feeds angels in heaven and every nation and race on earth, who needs nothing of an earthly character, as he is unfailing in his own nature, is this one naked? It is incredible to believe such a thing. Yet what must be confessed is easy to believe. For the Lord hungers not in his own nature but in his saints; the Lord thirsts not in his own nature but in his poor. The Lord who clothes everyone is not naked in his own nature but in his servants. The Lord who is able to heal all sicknesses and has already destroyed death itself is not diseased in his own nature but in his servants. Our Lord, the one who can liberate every person, is not in prison in his own nature but in his saints. Therefore, you see, my most beloved, that the saints are not alone. They suffer all these things because of the Lord. In the same way, because of the saints the Lord suffers all these things with them. interpretation of the gospels 38.

25:41-44 Depart from Me
You imputed it to yourselves.

chrysostom: But to the others he says, "Depart from me, you cursed." He does not say they are cursed by the Father, for the Father had not laid a curse upon them, but only their own works. He does not say that the eternal fire is prepared only for you but "for the devil and his angels." For concerning the kingdom indeed, when he had said, "Come, inherit the kingdom," he added, "prepared for you before the foundation of the world, "But concerning the fire, he does not say this but "prepared for the devil." I prepared the kingdom for you, he says, but the fire I did not prepare for you but "for the devil and his angels." But you have cast yourselves in it. You have imputed it to yourselves. the gospel of matthew, homily 79.2.

I was Hungary.

chrysostom: "For I was hungry, and you gave me no food." For even though you should meet your enemy, is not his suffering enough to overcome and subdue your resistance to being merciful? And what about his hunger, cold, chains, nakedness and sickness? What about his homelessness? Are not these sufferings sufficient to overcome even your alienation? But you did not do these things for a friend, much less a foe. You could have at once befriended and done good. Even when you see a dog hungry you feel sympathy. But when you see the Lord hungry, you ignore it. You are left without excuse. the gospel of matthew, homily 79.2.

You did not visit me

. origen: He could have said to the unrighteous, "I was sick, and you did not visit me; I was in prison, and you did not come to me." Instead he abbreviated his discourse and compressed both phrases into one, saying, "I was sick and in prison, and you did not visit me," for it was proper for a merciful judge to embellish the good deeds of people but to skim over their evil deeds. The righteous, however, dwell on each word, saying, "When did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you drink?" And "when did we see you a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you?" Or "when did we see you sick or in prison, and come to you?" For it is characteristic of the righteous, out of humility, studiously to make light of each of their good deeds held up to them. It is as though to the Lord's words, "This, that and the other good thing you did to me," they disavowingly reply, "Neither this, that nor the other thing did we do to you." The unrighteous do not treat each item individually but are quick to say, "When did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you, for we ministered the word to you." They refer to everything they did and tend to play down their evil actions, which might appear worse if enumerated one by one, for it is characteristic of wicked people to mention their faults, by way of excuse, as being either nonexistent or few and far between. commentary on matthew 73.

when did we see You hungry?

incomplete work on matthew: "Then they will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry ... or thirsty?'" Oh, the invariable disobedience of sinners! Who does not realize that every evil we do is done not because we are corruptible but because we have a bad intention? Plainly then the corruptible flesh of sinners will die, but wickedness will live on. Did they not hear the Lord saying to the righteous, "As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me?" Certainly they should have understood that what they fail to do to people, they fail to do to Christ. But those who hear, remain adamant; those who understand, pretend they do not understand. They stand in judgment, and yet they keep on sinning. This applies also to bad teachers ... who did not clothe the naked, either by teaching justice or by baptizing in Christ; who did not welcome strangers in the world through the word or introduce them into the house of the church through faith; who did not heal the sick by their words; who did not lead out, through penance, those who were sitting in the prison of ungodliness. If it is ungodly not to offer material things to bodies, which cannot live forever even if they accept these things, can you imagine how ungodly it is not to administer spiritual things to souls that are in danger and could live forever if only these things were administered to them? Since the soul is more precious than the body, it is all the more sinful not to give spiritual alms to troubled souls rather than material alms to bodies.homily 54.

25;45-46 Eternal Punishment or Eternal Life
eternal punishment, eternal life.

epiphanius the latin: You see, my beloved, there is no excuse for it. They knew what they had to do in this world. But greed and ill-will prevented them, so they laid up for themselves not treasures for the future but the world of the dead. Neither were they condemned because of the active wrong they did, nor did the Lord say to them, Depart from me, you wicked, because you committed murder or adultery or theft. But instead: because I was hungry and thirsty in my servants, and you did not minister to me. If those who did no wrong are thus condemned, what must be said of those who do the works of the devil? Will not the prophecy of blessed David come upon them; "The wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous?" Not that they will not rise, but that neither in judgment [nor in] the congregation of the righteous do they deserve to enter. They will stand, however, so that from punishment they may enter into punishment. "And they will go into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Whatever will be is everlasting. Sinners will have everlasting punishment; and the righteous, everlasting life. interpretation of the gospels 38.



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